Whisky Odyssey
Old-fashioned with a twist of the modern 

Enigmatic Classic Malt from where the mill stands



However much I detest the fact that more and more bottlings these days are “secret this or that” or “unnamed”, or what have you, todays entry was worth digging into anyway. 

Tasted first during a trip to Campbeltown in January of this year, the staff at Cadenhead’s made no secret of the pedigree of this single malt from Islay. In fact, the most well-known expression from that place where the mill stands is also a 16 years old. 

Any whiskynerd should be able to figure it out now.

Enigma 16 Years Old Islay Single Malt – bottled at 55 % abv by Cadenhead’s

Makeup: Distilled in 2007, this Lagavulin spent the final days before bottling in a oloroso hogshead (finish since March 2022). Bottled in the Enigma range for being deemed unfit to be put in any other Cadenhead’s range, its outturn was 306 bottles. Bottled in November 2023. Natural colour, non-chill filtered.

General impressions
: Immediately reminiscent of some of the better sherry-fuelled official Lagavulin of days past. Remember, these days they even put it in tequila casks (blasphemous!). First it is the smoke that breaks your senses. An empty ashtray, a slowly dying out barbecue, with fat still dripping from the grill on red hot coals. There was a good steak on here! When you dive deeper you get more charcoal, burned wood. With some time, the tiniest of red notes emerge. You will have to be patient to get to the bottom of this whisky.

Shocking to notice how smooth this is on the tongue. There is a sweet taste first but this quickly gives way to an incredibly smoky and dry note. I doublechecked the label, it really says 55 % where you could mistake if for 43-46ish. Excellent balance, not a rough spot to be found. The only thing one could ask for is a bit more of a maritime character. It feels more earthy than medicinal. Indeed, more smoky than peaty. But my oh my, this is a belter. With water you are in for a sweet finish infused with leathery notes and milk chocolate.

A nod to the classic official Distillers Editions of the 1980 till 1995 vintages, that were smooth but still a kick in the teeth when it needed to be. Even if it does not say so on the label, this is the best (new) Lagavulin I have tasted in a long time. Well done, Cadenhead!

Score: 91 points.

Disclaimer: taken from a self-bought bottle at the Cadenhead’s Whiskyshop Campbeltown.