Lagavulin 12, 56.5% – OB Special Releases 2021

On the second of the Blind Tasting Competition, we went to Islay. That much was pretty clear from the first sniff. I also figured out we went to the south of Islay. It could have been Bunnahabhain, but I didn’t recognize this as Caol Ila, Bowmore, Bruichladdich or Kilchoman. Laphroaig seemed a stretch too.

Image from Whiskybase

It turned out to be Lagavulin, but my guess went to Ardbeg. There was a certain ashy flavor that I don’t know from Lagavulin. Also, with the always lauded 12 year old, I liked to have tasted this blind without any preconception of what it could be.

It did decrease my score for what I would expect to rate this at. As in, generally the Lagavulin 12 is considered an 88 to 90 point whisky, but in this blind tasting, it didn’t quite get there.

A heavy kind of peat smoke, with more peaty notes than crisp smoke. Floral and grassy too, with straw, dried flowers and hay. Soil, peat, dried lemon.

Ah yes, the peat is very much at the fore-front here too. Quite a peppery dram, in a very punchy way. Little oaky notes, but there is some bitterness, and lots of grass and straw. I would not be surprised if this is a virgin oak cask, even though it’s not overly oaky. It does have that sharpness that sometimes (often?) comes with the territory.

The finish only lingers in the front of your mouth and barely touches your throat. Brine, rocks and slightly mineral like, with peppery heat and lots of peat.

I liked the ashy bit, it makes for a very typical dram. I do feel it’s not as complex as I like whiskies to be, especially whiskies that set you back significantly more than € 100…


Available for € 140 at Best of Wines


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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