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Lagavulin 12 Year Old (Special Release 2017) Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)
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- ABV 56.5%
For many Islay fans, this is about as good as it gets. The annual 12 year old differs from the ubiquitous sixteen having been completely matured in refill American oak casks and bottled at natural strength. Largely sold out in the UK, early reports have the 2018 release to be taking a price hike, so if you buy these to drink rather than collect, now's the time to act.
Tasting note: Matured in refill American oak hogsheads. Pale gold. Stunningly soft and beautifully fresh Laga; a heady mix of seashore, lanolin, pine and forest floor developing with smoked meats, cigar box, vanilla and edging towards mezcal in the later inhalations. Bracing, super-pure yet intense; a profound, spice infused 'cream-of-Islay' ; almost impossibly wound up with tremendous length and power; sea breeze and more coastal notes through the finish which turns salty, peppery, lipsmacking. Perfectly poised. Fisherman’s Friend lozenges late in the aftertaste. Hard to fault. A complete turnaround from last year's release, but equally superb. 56.5% Alc./Vol.
Other reviews… something very special indeed. As mouth feels go, this is just about perfect. I think whisky like this was invented by the whisky gods to be experienced at full strength. Even people who do not regard themselves as peat lovers are likely to be seduced by this one. Talk about controlled power.
96 points - Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2019
We’re having these every year, and every year that’s a joy. Colour: pale white wine. Nose: Lagavulin’s sweeter peat at first, then the expected sooty smoke, Islay mud, crushed barley, then perhaps a drop of sunflower or sesame oils, whiffs of hand cream, and the usual ocean breeze. Drops of mercurochrome as well, just in case. It’s the purity that’s really perfect here. With water: that wet old tweed jacket, back from Dunivaig’s ruins while it was raining cats and dogs over the bay. Mouth (neat): lemony, peppery, ashy, and smoky perfection. I find it even more precise and concise than earlier batches. Doesn’t do a lot, but does it with utter perfection. With water: gets ashier and sootier. That feeling of having eaten some cigar ash, while the usual orange drops start to appear in the background. Finish: rather long, clean, rather on smoked oranges. We’ll have to try that one day. Comments: perhaps a slightly simpler and sweeter one, but we keep flying very high with these little 12s.
90 points - Serge Valentin, www.whiskyfun.com