Lagavulin is a rare distillery to find anything off, except for their standard bottlings. I was lucky enough to find half a bottle of a Murray McDavid one at a whisky friend, who was selling samples of it (I bought the entire bottle that was left). Apart from that, they occasionally do extra releases, with the annual Diageo Premium releases always encompassing a 12 year old, cask strength version. This year, and in 2007, they also released a 21 year old but that’s about it, in recent history.
This 12 year old is one I picked up quite some years ago at De Whiskykoning and have been slowly sipping away ever since. I felt it was time to finish it, but not before writing notes of course!
Quite some head-on smokiness in this one. Lots of straw and light yellow fruit, with apples and pears. Vanilla and creme brulee too. Carambole too (I had to look up the name, never had a clue!).
Dry because of the load of alcohol in it. The flavour, however, is juicy and sweet with still yellow fruit, although more tropical now. Fresh pineapple, tinned pineapple and syrup. Also some vanilla, straw and the typical smokiness as well.
The finish continues the fruity, smoky ride we’re on but does become a bit more hot with more spices, pepper, tree bark, white oak. Quite dry too.
When I initially opened it about 6 years ago, I thought this bottle was as fiery as it could be. I think the years it has been open have mellowed it (or oxydized it, if you will), but I think it improved the whisky a bit. It allowed it to shine a little bit more.
All in all, this is great whisky. I tasted quite a few of the annual 12 year olds an never have they disappointed me. This one, however, is a bit more fruity and less typical briny / salty / heathery than I usually find Lagavulin. A nice diversion of the regular.
Now I want to get my hands on the current release.
Lagavulin 12, released in 2003, OB, 57.8%, currently priced around € 171