I have some of the 2017 Release of Lagavulin 12 Year Old - let's compare to the GoT 9 Year Old. Just for fun!
The colour is a very pale straw. Grassy on the nose with very sweet peat smoke, lemon curd, smoked salmon, fennel, arugula and a hint of Italian parsley. Underripe green grapes. Oyster shells. Perfect balance between the peat and herbs, with vanilla anchoring in the background.
Mouth-drying (then later, mouth-watering) on the palate, with kippers, tart lemon pith, more fennel, chili pepper and really tart green apple. Enormously complex though maybe a bit all over the place - but it has so much going on it is endlessly fascinating.
The finish is long with lemon pepper, toasty oak and brine. Amazing stuff - the annual 12 Year Old never disappoints. #4 in Whisky Advocate's Top 20 Whiskies of 2017, and Best Single Malt Scotch (11-15 Years, Multiple Casks) in Jim Murray's 2019 Whisky Bible. Next to the 9 Year Old? It is much lighter in colour than the 9, with much more lemon and fruit on the nose. Far less caramel than the 9. The 12 wins hands down, but let's face it, it usually beats everything else...