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I just cracked open the recent acquired Lagavulin 12 (2015 release) and compared it to the same series 2011 and 2012 version that I have in cabinet. I am happy to say that the 2015 release holds the 12-yr series tradition extremely well, in some way restored the “big Islay, bold flavour, with undisputed balance” found in 2011 bottling (many reported similar quality in 2009 & 2010 release as well).
Nose: Peat, sea salt, grassy & citrus, hint of oily (yes i can nose it too), slight toasty malt, earthy tone of herbal aurora, thin vapour with gentle sweetness, smoke coated fish. Peat again, it’s the kind of peat with very high quality (no rough edge) throughout the nose profile. Gosh I can sniff it for long long time.
Taste: the transition from nose to palate is extremely well. Not single "bad surprise” but rather amplified the profile with more horizontal explosion. The Lagavulin signature is all here and alive with notable iodine join the tasting party. Also there is more than generous “mouth feel” (wet & well coated) to enhance the tasting experience. Think of it as internal fireworks explosion, only with well controlled structure and precision. Something reminds me the discipline of well-balanced regular 16 years old, only with more intensity and more firepower.
Finish: The 2011 release has the signature “unnaturally long" finish, the later release (sweater and bit smoother) all seems to lack of that magical lingering power, NO MORE, this time it finally restored the old mighty finishing power! It lingers just as long as 2011 but feel completely natural, smooth and easy.
Overal: Lagavulin 12 is the kind of heavy weight whisky ranked right up there with the very best from neighbouring distillers Ardbeg or Laphroaig. This version has the refinement of Ardbeg Corryveckan, the power and complexity of Uigeadail, and clear discipline of Lagavulin.