In my experience adventure involves two stages. First you decide to do something new and exciting in life only to instantly regret it. Next the adventure is over and despite your early misgivings you’ve somehow decided that it was the greatest thing ever. Whisky pairs perfectly with these stages. In total fear it suddenly dawns on you that you want a whisky. Afterwards you get pretentious about it as you start wondering what whisky could possibly be apt to end such an extraordinary day. For the past week I have been contemplating what should be the first whisky I review on this blog. I wanted something, bold, nuanced, and which you might not appreciate the first time you try it; in short a mini adventure in itself. In the end the decision was simple and that rather bothered me. So I racked my brain a great deal more and still came to the same conclusion. The answer was to be found in the Islay region of Scotland where the whisky is famed for its intense smoky flavours, more specifically at the Lagavulin distillery.
Lagavulin 16 is absolute magic. It brings together a wide array of distinct and intense flavours and orchestrates their delivery with such panache so as to leave the drinker, awestruck, dumbfounded, and slightly worried that this fine beverage may well have been stolen from the gods. The nose is devilishly smoky with a hint of sweetness. The drink itself begins with a dry toffee note which quickly builds into an incredibly sweet sherry flavour. It then develops a salty hint before an incredibly powerful peat finish!
The only problem with Lagavulin 16 is that one has an intense desire to savour a bottle but simultaneously knows that with exposure to oxygen over time its powerful peat finish will diminish. This has led some fools (myself included) to stick tapers (fire) into the bottle to kill off the oxygen. More sensible individuals simply place the liquid into smaller containers. Such people know nothing of the endless amusement that comes from being drunk with a bottle perched between your legs, a taper down its neck and the macabre thought that at any moment an incident involving spontaneous combustion could destroy any hopes of future progeny. It was no doubt the memory of such foolhardy escapades that prompted me to review this particular whisky first and a fine choice it has proven. After a truly most excellent day of adventuring it always brings a mellow and contemplative close to proceedings.