The look on their faces when I said that I have tasted the Lagavulin 16 YO could tell it all.  Yes ask me the difference between a 12 and a 16 year old and I will tell you.

So come let me take you on a journey of discovery. It won’t be like the run-of- the-mill review. Allow me to digress. Don’t you hate it when a connoisseur is describing a whisk(e)y like, ‘ Hey guys, this is a rare blend with nuances of vanilla and wet earth. I can also detect undertones of honey, dark fruits and a slightly long finish. This particular whisky is tannic and you should pair it with a foie gras tart” . So you stare perplexed and confused.


At some point you lose focus and start thinking of how you have never tasted a ‘foie gras tart’ and you are not sure whether it is a type of cake made out of grass. Haha! Thank God for Google.

This is what makes wine & whisk(e)y complicated among the Kenyan household. However, I am here to tell you that it is a misconception. It is not that confounding! I can actually show you a wine that you can pair with ‘ndengu’ and that combination will blow you socks off. I am serious! 🙂 Sometimes you just want a whiskey that will go well with your mbuzi choma and kachumbari on the side.

I want to give you the particular tastes that you can identify with. Something that you have known growing up. I think in this article I will digress over 50 times. Get used to it. So I was tasting a certain whisky with a friend and was telling him that I don’t take whisky on an empty stomach. There was some ice on a container and he was like, “here, eat this”. We all have such friends…

Back on track… The Lagavulin 16 year old is very modest. For ladies, it is like that tall, mysterious guy that you have yet to figure out. Subtle in his approach, but you have to notice when he walks into a room. Well, not that dramatic but you get what I mean, Yes? No.

It is made in the Lagavullin Distillery in Islay Scotland. Lagavulin is produced by United Distillers & Vintners, which in turn is owned by Diageo. Diageo is one of the market leaders in Wine and Spirits Distribution. If you have never heard of it, get from under that moss-ridden rock  🙂

There have been several legal battles between this tall, dark and handsome whiskey and his brother Laphroaig Whisky. That is a a lot of Sibling drama to get into right now. We will sample Laphroaig on another day. This whiskey has been mentioned in TV shows Necessary Roughness and West Wing .

Tasting Notes

As I said, thee notes will be simple and authentic. You can call them the ‘Whiskey in Kenya’ tasting notes.

Smell: Smells of Iodine. Did you smell it in Chemistry class. Do you remember that smell? Also fruity. It smells like ripening mangoes.

Taste: Dry. Have you ever tasted the bottom of an ash tray or ash by mistake? Think of that dryness.

I also has a surprising fruity sweetness. I used the word surprising because, Remember I termed it as tall dark and handsome and men are not supposed to be fruity. Big, powerful peat and oak.

Finish– Have you eve sipped (or gulped) wine/whisky and you felt it  “burn” you as it went down from your throat to your stomach? That is the finish.  Long, spicy finish, figs, dates, peat smoke, vanilla.


Food Pairing– Blue Cheese. I’m yet to research on a Kenyan dish that goes well with it.

It is a great entry level whiskey if you are a beginner but you still want smokiness. If you do not want any smokiness try delicate whiskies like Glenkinchie 12yo , Glenliver 12yYo and Glenfiddich 12Yo. I love this whisky so much because the peat and smokiness is very minimal unlike in whiskies like Adberg or Talisker. If you want to know more, read my article on smoke & peat on whiskeys.