Lagavulin 16 vs Redistilled Lagavulin 16

Last week I got an angry google-talk message from my wife asking me what I ordered this time, and honest to God I couldn’t recall pressing the ‘Order’ button on any booze related website. Luckily it were some samples kindly supplied by Master of Malt where Ben had been toying around with his Rotovap again.

5 samples of redistilled whisky. Lagavulin 16, Talisker 10, Ardbeg 10, Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or and Glenfarclas 9 for Movember 2011. They even took the time to cut them back to the original alcohol strength. I was very excited, as you have guessed. This kind of stuff is a once in a lifetime opportunity to taste!

Since the Lagavulin 16 is the only one of which I have the regular edition at this point, I decided to do a little head to head.

A box of rare stuff

Lagavulin 16, 43%
Firm peat on the nose, with a rich and full character of heather and honey. Quite some sherry influence with a hint of flowers and laundry detergent, but luckily, nowehere near 1980′s Bowmore. Tea, charcoal, oil and tar as well. The palate is, again, rich and full with a little dusty honey, apple, pear skins, and smoke. The peat smoke is lighter than on the nose. The finish is very similar to the palate with a slightly sharper edge.

No wonder this is one bottle I always have in the house. One of the best, if not the best standard edition.

Lagavulin 16, Redistilled, 43%
Incredibly light and crisp from the start. The smokiness is more or less completely gone from the nose. Quite some scents, but very unexpected with crisp, not yet ripe lemons. The palate has a more thick and greasy feel to it. Sweet and dry with cereals and fruit. There’s some leather and banana too. The finish is very short. (

I expected this last dram to taste a lot more like the spirit I tasted at the distillery a few years ago. The reduced ABV helps to make it a lot more gentle, but I think the flavours are quite different too. Most notably the lack of smokiness. Very interesting indeed!

What’s got me thinking is how the wood mellows the alcohols in a chemical way. At least, it barely can’t be any different than that. I’m not big on chemistry, but this I find interesting. Maybe they should spend time on such things in highschool.

The redistilled spirits are not commercially viable, according to Ben Ellefsen, but still it’s nice to have been able to try them this way. I love his empirical and inquisitive mind.

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About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm a web developer at Emakina. I'm highly interested in booze, with a focus on whisk(e)y and beer. I like to listen to loads of music and read an occasional book. I'm married to Anneke, have a daughter Ot and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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