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Ardbeg 10 vs Lagavulin 16: Discover the Better!

Discover the differences between Ardbeg 10 vs Lagavulin 16 in this in-depth comparison and decide which Whisky is better for You!

Ardbeg 10

  • Nose: Smoke, ash, coal, caramel
  • Palate: Smoke, tobacco, caramel, bacon
  • Finish: Long, caramel, smoke
  • Alcohol content: 93 proof (46.3% ABV)
  • How to drink: Add water
  • Similar to: Springbank 10

Nose is full of smoke, ash and coal but mellows out into a rich caramel scent as you let it develop.

On the palate, this malt provides a incredibly thick creamy body. Flavor brings strong smoke presence, along notes of tobacco, espresso coffee and a meaty note that tastes like bacon.

Everything is nicely balanced against caramel notes making it remarkably good.

The finish is long and warming, with the smoke, sweet caramel and a dash of black pepper.

Ardbeg 10 is a whisky made for seasoned peat and smoke lovers.

This whisky is complex and delicioussmooth and well-rounded, rich in caramel and smoke, along mineral and sweet notes. This is one of the best malts for smoke enthusiasts.

Few whiskies are as full and rich in peat and smoke than the Ardbeg. If you are new to this type of whisky you might find it overwhelming hence don’t expect to like it as much as I do on the first date.

Whiskies of this type are an acquired taste that demand practice to be fully enjoyed. Once you come to terms with it you will find a hard time enjoying traditional Scotch whiskies.

If you feel overwhelmed by the Ardbeg add a few drops of water releasing sweet and floral notes making it easier to drink.

Ardbeg 10 facts:

  • Aged for 10 years in bourbon barrels.
  • Won Gold medal in the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
  • Jim Murray Whisky Bible 2016: 97/100.
  • Jim Murray Whisky Bible: 2008 World Whisky of the Year.
  • The Ardbeg Distillery was founded in 1815 and produced in the Scottish island of Islay (pronounced “ai-luh”). 

Lagavulin 16

  • Nose: Smoke, vanilla, iodine
  • Palate: Smoke, tobacco, seaweed, fresh fruit
  • Finish: Smoke, fig, vanilla
  • Alcohol content: 86 proof (43% ABV)
  • How to drink: Add water
  • Similar to: Lagavulin Offerman


Lagavulin 16 has a strong aroma of smoke and sea salt along sweet notes of vanilla and caramel.

Flavor is rich, with a delicious blast of smoke, caramel, along fruity sweetness. The peatiness is incredibly well balanced against some caramel sweetness, rich, smooth and delicious.

This whisky is creamy and smooth and pleasantly warm.

The finish is long, sweet and pleasantly warm, with more smoke to it.

Is it good?

Lagavulin 16 is a great malt with a strong but still enjoyable peaty profile with delicious sweetness.

The long aging period diminished the smoky notes a bit whilst adding the sweet vanilla from the bourbon barrels. This is one of the best peaty single malts in the market.

If you find yourself overwhelmed in smoke add a few drops of water, that will open-up the Lagavulin 16 making it sweeter, while tuning-down the peat and will become easier to sip.

Lagavulin 16 facts:

  • Lagavulin is aged for 16 years using ex-bourbon barrels.
  • Named the “Best Single Malt Whisky” at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2013.
  • Lagavulin distillery was founded in 1816 by John Johnston and Archibald Campbell, is located in the village of Lagavulin on the south of the island of Islay, Scotland.
  • This brand is owned by Diageo and contributes with malts to some of Johnnie Walker‘s best blends.

Which Scotch has more smoke Ardbeg 10 or Lagavulin 16?

Ardbeg 10 is higher in smoke than the Lagavulin 16

The Ardbeg is richer in smoke, as a rule of thumb the whisky with less aging is more smoky as smoke fades with extended time in the barrel.

Ardbeg 10 vs Lagavulin 16: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Ardbeg 10$58
Lagavulin 16$75

Ardbeg 10 vs Lagavulin 16: Which is better?

Lagavulin 16 is easier to like

  • Lagavulin is gentler with the smoke making it a more approachable whisky.
  • One you get through an initial layer of smoke you get rewarded with pleasing caramel and vanilla notes providing a great experience.
  • Ardbeg hits hard with smoke and peat while also delivering a medicinal taste which is not so easy to like and more like an acquired taste.

Similarities between Ardbeg 10 and Lagavulin 16

  • These whiskies are produced in the Scottish island of Islay (pronounced “ai-luh”). This island of just 240 square miles hosts other notorious distillers such as: Bowmore 12, Bruichladdich and Kilchoman.
  • These bottles are labeled as single malts, that is, spirits made exclusively from malted barley at a single distillery and aged for a minimum of 3 years.
  • Both the Ardbeg and Lagavulin have strong smoky notes from the peats used to dry the malted barley.
  • Ardbeg 10 and Lagavulin 16 were both aged in ex-bourbon barrels. Those bourbon whiskey notes are present in these whiskies.

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