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2013 Lagavulin Special Release 12 Year Old Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)
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- ABV 57.5%
If the sheer ubiquity of the 16 Year old has rendered it less visible in a market grown accustomed to notice the novel and exciting, here is a reason to revisit Lagavulin. The latest in a sequence of 'vintage' bottlings, aged in refill American oak casks and reportedly bottled without filtration, revived as an annual limited edition to "...satisfy the cravings of those who never understood why Lagavulin moved to 16 years of age". This release is all the more timely, given reports that the latest batch  of the 16 Year Old has dropped several notches in every respect (bar price).The annual bottlings have never missed the mark with international reviewers and consumers alike and could arguably be considered this distillery's new benchmark.
And now for a little bit more you can get a lot more: The 12 Year Old represents a departure from its more heavy handed, sherry-influenced sibling. This is long on style - even elegance - with that elusive delivery of restrained power and layered complexity that charms the pants off lovers of seaside malt. It navigates its own waters somewhere between the finest cask strength expressions from Ardbeg or Laphroaig. Tasting note: Pale straw gold. Opening sniffs detect sea shore and smoked fish with underlying vanilla and sweet malt. Aeration draws out a fruity edge with suggestions of citrus infused tea, unripe mandarin and quince paste. Third inspection finds the sooty peat emerging alongside notes of lanolin. A light entry develops into a concentrated, dryish mid palate; cocoa and vanilla are smothered in a blanket of sweet smoke and spice; finish is warm, tingly, salty, firm and prolonged. Turns distinctively bittersweet chocolate-like to fade salivating, dry and with late notes of orange cake, citrus peel and fruit’n’nut chocolate. The high ABV never compromises the balance. A few drops of water accentuates the bittersweet dark chocolate / wool-shed aromatics while softening the mouthfeel immeasurably and extending the mid palate stage. Smashing stuff. 55.1% Alc./Vol.