Lagavulin vs Laphroaig – Comparison of Islay Whiskies

Lagavulin 16 Year Old Scotch Whisky

Lagavulin is one of the oldest distilleries consisting originally of 10 small distilleries.

In 1816, John Johnson founded the first legal distillery on the site, and Archibald Campbell had opened the second one.

After John Johnson’s death, Alexander Graham acquired Johnston’s distillery and ultimately united both distilleries under the Lagavulin name.

The name “Lagavulin” is derived from the Gaelic lag a’mhuilinn (translating as – “hollow of the mill”).

It sits on the southern end of Islay between the Ardbeg and Laphroaig distilleries. The island of Islay is a true Mecca of whiskey where there are eight distilleries.

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All of Lagavulin’s distillate is manufactured with heavily peat-smoked malt, giving its products that pronounced maritime character and signature reek which leads many to point to it as the canonical Islay whiskey.

Its most famous whiskey is Lagavulin 16, a full-bodied single malt which clocks in at 43 percent ABV. Additionally, Lagavulin 16 is aged in oak for a minimum of 16 years and has massively smoky flavors as well as wood notes, lingering sweetness, and smoke on the finish.

Lagavulin 16 is the preferred Scotch of Brian Cox, a Scottish actor who works with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Furthermore, Mr. Ron Swanson (a fictional character portrayed by the actor Nick Offerman) is commonly seen with bottles of the 16 on the show.

Color

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Deep, dark amber, almost brown. Also, a nice hint of caramel color.

Nose

A dancing nose. It is as if sweet and smoke are on a see-saw both going back and forth.

Palate

Very rich and thick. A massive mouthful of Sherry and malt with good fruity sweetness, a wonderful sweetness. Powerful peat and oak.

Feel

Coating and oily in a smooth and relaxing dram.

Finish

The smoke lingers. There is also some fruit as well – pears and apples, and it is a complex finish. After some time, you get a bit of mossiness from the peat, however, it is amazing.

Price

Lagavulin 16 years price costs 46 to 50 €, money well spent.

Laphroaig 10-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

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The Laphroaig distillery was started by brothers Donald and Alexander Johnston in 1815 and has been operating for over 200 years. It was run by the Johnston family till 1954 when the last member of the family died without an heir.

The brand is now owned by Beam Suntory, a subsidiary of Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd. The name comes from the area in which the distillery is located by Loch Laphroaig. Interestingly, it is the only whiskey that has the Royal Warrant of the Prince of Wales.

Nose

On the nose, it exhibits huge peat smoke notes, almost reminiscent of an extinguished campfire on the beach. Furthermore, there is a slight hint of wet seaweed and maybe just a touch of vanilla as well as a certain briny quality evident.

Palate

Good malt-peat balance, with grain-based sweetness. Slight lemon peel, heavy briny peat. There is also a streak of dried, jammy fruit running through it.

Finish

Drying and big, as the savory, tarry notes build up with an iodine complexity.

Price

Laphroaig Quarter Cask Single Malt Whisky costs 46-50 euro. It is worth every penny.

Bottom Line – Lagavulin vs Laphroaig

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Lagavulin is manufactured by United Distillers & Vintners, that in turn is owned by Diageo plc. The 16-Year-Old whiskey has been matured in oak casks and is rich and dry, giving the peat great depth. This is a perfectly fine single malt. Also, the hints of subtler flavors are a testament to the greatness of Lagavulin.

Laphroaig single malt Scotch whiskey is one of the most recognizable whiskeys in the world. It is known for their big, peaty drams that are on the most intense and extreme side of Scotch whiskey.

In conclusion, both whiskeys offer purity and simplicity of expression from a place where there are numerous competing classics and a few competing trendsetters. In addition, they encapsulate much what the average peaty whiskey drinker desires and expects. Also, both remain beloved classics due to their capacity to transport its audience to Islay, a harsh and remote place many will never travel to.

However, the standard Laphroaig 10 Year Old serves as the flag bearer and is presently the best selling of all the Islay single malts.

References

http://www.dcs.ed.ac.uk/home/jhb/whisky/lapointe/text.html
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5174148/
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320290319_Time_and_Quality_Effic