Lagavulin 12 Year Old 2013 Release

Heavy Bitter Peat

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10th Feb 2016

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Tasting Notes by Victor

The reviewed sample was provided thanks to @Robert99. Thank you, Robert!

Colour: very pale

Nose: moderate to moderately strong intensity. There is plenty of brine, acrid smoke, bitter peat, sweet peat, a little citrus, and a bit of malt. Nicely balanced and very enjoyable. The longer I spend with this nose the more I like it. Water added sweetens the nose, bundles the flavours and mellows them. This nose is very good with water, also. Score: 23/25

Taste: very strong flavours. There is very heavy peat and smoke in the mouth, but the quality of the peat is a little rough, overwhelmingly bitter, and not attractive in the way that the nose is. The brine and citrus are still there. The malt is almost invisible. A little sweetness develops mid-palate, thank God, to partially balance all of the bitterness. Still, this is skewed heavily toward the bitter. Water added generally reduces the intensity of all of the flavours. Score: 21/25

Finish: very long and very strong. I like these bitter flavours better as they slowly tone down throughout the long finish, than I like them on the palatal delivery. Water added sweetens and tones down the finish, bringing out black licorice. I like the finish better without water. Score: 21.5/25

Balance: there is too much bitterness in the peat, and the sweet balance to this is lacking, except in the nose. Score: 21/25

Total Sequential Score: 86.5 points



Strength: moderate in the nose; very strong thereafter. Score: 24/25

Quality: the malt's ok; same for the brine and citrus. The peat is very bitter here, and a little rough. Score: 21.5/25

Variety: very adequate variety throughout, but the bitter peat crowds out the other flavours on the palate. Score: 21.5/25 points

Harmony: excellent in the nose, fair on the palate, good on the finish. Score: 20.5/25

Total Non-Sequential Score: 87.5 points



Comment: This is one of the very rare very heavily peated cask strength whiskies which I've tried in which I felt that the peat and smoke didn't work very well. Despite that, I still enjoy this whisky. The flavours are good to very good, and the intensity of the flavours is laudably high. As distillery bottled Lagavulin 12 Year Old releases go, I like the 2013 release less than the Lagavulin 12 Year Old releases from 2010 and 2012. The 2012 Lagavulin 12 has much lighter flavours, but they are much more balanced. The 2010 release is better in almost every respect

Still, there is much to enjoy with Lagavulin 12 Year Old 2013 Release when you are in that Max-Peat mood


Whisky details




Lagavulin 12 Year Old 2013 Release







Pandemonium wrote:

To my shame I must admit that I've tasted over 12 different Lagavulins but never got to try the 12yo. After reading your review, I just put in an order for the 2015 release, I really have to fill that void!

11 February 2016 14:58

Victor wrote:

@Pandemonium, well, it takes awhile to try all of those thousands of whiskies out there!

I expect that you will have a very enjoyable time with your 2015 Release of Lagavulin 12 yo. I am looking forward to getting a taste of that whisky one day myself.

11 February 2016 15:37

Nozinan wrote:

I much preferred the 2011 to the 2015 in a head to head. I have a bottle of the 2010 but have not had a chance to open it yet.

11 February 2016 21:15

Pierre_W wrote:

I remember that I preferred the 2013 release over the one from 2012. Sadly, I did not get to try either the 2011 or 2010 versions. Now my fellow malt maniacs are raving over the 2015 edition. Phew... looks like I will go and buy a bottle this year, too...

12 February 2016 23:23

Victor wrote:

@Pierre_W, the 2012 release took a lot of grief for being underpowered compared to other releases of Lagavulin 12. Actually I think that a vatting of the 2012 and 2013 would produce a very interesting result. I'd try it out if I had the bottles handy.

13 February 2016 00:22

Misty wrote:

I wonder about that sample. For me the 2013 stands out as one of the sweeter less peaty entries in a long while. I really enjoyed it because I struggle with the peat monsters.

15 February 2016 20:37

Victor wrote:

@Misty, you never can completely eliminate variability unless you are drinking from the same bottle on the same day. This is especially true of heavily peated whiskies. I can tell you that I have sampled from different bottles of the "same" whisky bottled on the same day which were significantly different from one another.

So, I don't doubt you a bit that you had some 2013 Lagavulin 12 YO which was a lot different from what I reviewed here. It does happen. It is entirely possible that @Robert99's bottle came from the very end of the run, and got a more concentrated peat influence than did many others from earlier in the bottling run.

16 February 2016 13:40

Misty wrote:

Mmmm that's an interesting point.

I tell you what, I have a couple of bottles of the 2013 left, next time I open one I'll send you on a sample. It would be interesting to see if there are any differences.

18 February 2016 13:53

Victor wrote:

@Misty, sure, I'd love to compare the two, and yours sounds like I would probably like it better than this one reviewed above. I usually like the very heavy peat, but not so much in this case.

18 February 2016 14:12

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