Ironically, my first sips and favorites started in Islay, and then I branched all over Scotland. Learning as I go! Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/user/Telex2112
Lagavulin 8 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedA pleasant surprise by Lagavulin, but obviously a young one. This is a great breakfast dram with its hint of toast, cereal, peat, and salty glazed ham. I'd rather drink the 16 though, if there was a choice.
Lagavulin 16 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedThe glass that IS the gateway to Islay. This is the one of the most liked and well balanced drams out there. There is a major difference from other malts with its earthier peat. Also,there is actually a nice taste of bacon in there too with that salt. Don't be afraid!
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedThis is my favorite "go-to" option from Ardbeg. The coffee, chocolate, cordial, and smokey notes are very exquisite, and you don't have to sell a kidney to buy it - yet. I would only rate the Dark Cove CR release as a higher quality. The Kelpie too, only if I am in the mood for smoked fish.
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedNose - A little of everything, with that magic peat of course. Not nearly as much smoke as the Oogie, but I definitely get the cherries, the TCP/iodine. This one is at 57%, so just a wee little few drops of water will definitely do. If you don't mind the alcohol burn down the esophagus, it is VERY pleasant neat as well, but I want a smoother dram this time. Palate - very similar to what I get on the nose, but add in the brine, the seaweed, and ... what is that? Oh my, CALIENTE! Peppers out the ying-yang... chilis.. white pepper, black pepper.. "He's an pepper, she's a pepper, wouldn't ya like to be a pepper too?" Heh, old Dr. Pepper soft drink advert. Anyway, oooh nice finish, but a little dryer than I like usually, probably from all the heat. BUT, I am not complaining one bit. Some people like this more than the Oogie and vice versa. I have to say that I like both equally, and it just depends on the mood if you want a lot of smoke or not.
Laphroaig 10 Year Cask Strength
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedThis is the benchmark dram of most Islay malts. It's a lot different than Lagavulin 16 because it's not as earthy, and more peaty. This a higher ABV content, so it handles a couple drops better than most other pours. I enjoy the Laphroaig 10 better than the Ardbeg 10, because I am not a big fan of the lemon-lime zip.
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedThis is a complex "bad boy". This is a dram that you *must* take your time with. Play with a couple drops of water after neat. This seems to have some older years (some very old) blended with some of the new nice peatier offerings. It has a nice darkness to it that is comparable to the Ardbeg Dark Cove, but is it as good? Well, unfortunately, I don't think so, but if you lean more toward the peaty edge, you'll disagree with me.
Laphroaig 10 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedThis is a great dram, and I love Laphroaig, but your money might be better off spent on the Quarter Cask, or save 10 bucks and go "all in" on the 10 year Cask Strength.
Lagavulin Distillers Edition
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedThis one seems to divide scotch drinkers a lot. Here is the bottom line. If your are a peat head that doesn't mind a dram being balanced by PX cask influence, then you'll adore it like I do. If you're more of an "Octomorian" purist, you will be disappointed a tad, but just a smidgen.