Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Lagavulin 12 Year: 2012 Bottling

We loves the cask-strength whiskies, yes we does.

The late Michael Jackson, famed whisky writer not pop star, called Lagavulin 12 "the best of Islay." And, we can only agree.

In fact, we think it's the best of the single malts. But, then again, our experience is relatively limited.

Before, when I thought of the best finish one can get from a sip of a single malt, I immediately thought of Lagavulin 16 Year. But, after having a dram of Lagavulin 12 Year, I knew that nothing would be able to top it. It has the lovely smoke explosion that you get with Lagavulin 16 Year, but having been bottled at 56.1% a.b.v., the warmth unfolds itself and hugs you comfortably for such an amazingly long time.

Lagavulin 12 Year Old is released in limited numbers each year. The bottle I have on the shelf now is the 2012 edition. It's priced high enough to make it so that only true Lagavulin fans will feel it's worth emptying out the old wallet for. But, here's what makes it well worth it for me: I love Lagavulin, and I love cask-strength whiskies. So, a cask-strength Lagavulin is a no-brainer; without even having tried the stuff, I would have sold my own kids for a bottle, had I had any kids.

Tasting Notes

Pale with a golden hue.

Initially sharp and eye-stinging as expected with a CS whisky, but after 5 minutes, the peat really comes through, slight cinnamon, sweet mint, phenolic, a touch medicinal, vegetal, herbal, never loses the spiciness.
With water: the peat is muted initially, but comes back almost with a vengeance after several minutes.

For what the nose promises, the delivery is surprisingly subtle, mild at first and then the tingling spreads like a chain reaction, dancing on the tongue and softly playing the bongos on your lips.
Sweet, peppery, minty, peaty, ocean mist, oak and ash.
With water: Dulls the tingling slightly. grassy, sea breeze.

Long and steady, intense warmth.
Smoke and smoke, oak, ash, mint, cinnamon.
With water: slows down the pace at which the warmth unwinds itself.

A beautifully well-balanced cask-strength whisky; nothing stands out individually at any stage of the tasting process, except for the peat, which really dominates the nose after 5-8 minutes of sitting (before water, of course).

I will definitely be buying the 2015 edition of this whisky and may continue to buy each new release every year.