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Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition vs Lagavulin 16: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition vs Lagavulin 16 in this in-depth comparison and decide which Single Malt is better for You!

Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition

lagavulin-distillers-edition
NoseCaramel, smoke, plum
PalateSmoke, ripe fruit, salt
FinishOak, vanilla, baking spice, smoke
Alcohol content86 proof (43% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toLaphroaig PX Cask, Ardbeg Uigeadail

The Distiller’s Edition is the same malt as the 16 YO but finished in casks that were previously used to mature Pedro Ximenez sherry wine. Commonly referred to as P.X., this wine is remarkably sweet, as the grapes are dried under the sun.

This double-barrelling is what makes Distiller’s Edition sweeter and more fruity than the 16 YO while lowering the smoke a little… but not much.

The nose hits with smoke at first, followed by caramel and a rich note of plum.

On the palate, Distiller’s brings traditional Lagavulin notes such as smoke and brine up front. As you let it develop it becomes incredibly rich in ripe fruit.

Body is thick and creamy, the mouthfeel is quite smooth and the smoke is tuned-down from the 16 YO letting you appreciate the nice fruity flavors better.

The finish is pleasantly long leaving you with a remarkable aftertaste, mostly smoky, rich in baking spice, with a bit of oak spice to it and lingering caramel sweetness.

Did I like it? Yes, one of the best smoky whiskies I have tried but is not missing any of the key flavors.

Everything is there in perfect harmony making a heck of a dram and one that I should be consuming more often.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Distiller’s Edition:

  • Distiller’s Edition is aged for 16 years in ex-bourbon barrels.
  • Distiller’s Edition is part of a release of Single Malts by Diageo that includes other brands such as Talisker, Oban, Cragganmore, Glenkinchie and Dalwhinnie; each double-matured in a different type of cask wood chosen by Master Blenders to complement the characteristics of the whisky.

Lagavulin 16

lagavulin-16
NoseSmoke, vanilla, iodine
PalateSmoke, Tobacco, seaweed, fresh fruit
FinishSmoke, fig, vanilla
Alcohol content86 proof (43% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toOban 14, Ardbeg 10

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.

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 in which it was aged. 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 making it sweeter, while tuning-down the peat and will become easier to sip.

This is a Scotch to enjoy neat with a few drops of water to open it up making it more approachable.

Consider further options by reading my post with the best alternatives to Lagavulin 16!

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Lagavulin 16:

  • Named the “Best Single Malt Whisky” at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2013.
  • 6 Double Gold Medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
  • 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.

Lagavulin 16 vs Distiller’s Edition: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskyPrice
Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition$135
Lagavulin 16$100

Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition vs Lagavulin 16: Which is better?

Distiller’s Edition is an upgrade over the 16 YO

WhiskeyDistiller’s EditionLagavulin 16
Nose
Body
Palate
Finish
Value
  • Those Pedro Ximenez casks found a way to improve an already good Lagavulin 16 by adding a rich sherry note, ripe fruit, along more depth and complexity making it supremely good.
  • The brief aging in PX casks lowered the smoke by just a bit letting you appreciate better those tasty notes.
  • There is a substantial increase in price, yet I’m comfortable with it.

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