This is (I think) the 4th bottle of Lagavulin 12 year old I've opened. For me the Lagavulin 12 year old is the best representation of Lagavulin in their range. The Feis Isle bottle MarkJedi sent me a dram of was sublime. But let's face it those Feis Isle bottles aren't easy to get hold of and are crazy expensive.
Being the best of the core range is probably not that difficult. Although who could tell which bottles make up the range anymore with Lagavulin seemingly releasing a new bottle every few months at the moment? All of them pretty similar to each other. A 9 year old game of thrones release (to go alongside the 8). An 11 year old Offerman when they already have a 12. The range could really do with decluttering. They'd have been better off concentrating their efforts on getting the 16 back to it's heights of old imo (first single malt I ever tried).
Anyway the 12 is still an Islay classic. Cask strength, bourbon cask matured, no sherry cask influence to make it seem more sophisticated. Just pure Islay power.
I did get a bottle of the 2019 release with it's hideous new design. But sadly I won't be buying any more Lagavulin 12 year olds unless Diageo stop trying to rinse customers. They want £120 for the 2020 release. Waaay too much. The Springbank 12 goes for £60 and is arguably a better dram.
Anyway onto the whisky.
Review is of a 50ml pour with 2 teaspoons of water added. It has sat for 30 mins.
Surprisingly sweet. Farmyard smells (wet straw?), pineapple, lemons. Subtle ashy smoke. Like you've burned a tub of Sherbert Lemons on a bonfire or something!
Arrival is quick and intense. The peat is much more evident on the palate. It catches your breath. Then the sweetness takes over and there is lemon curd on buttered crumpets.
Is insanely long. Just goes on and on. With this ashy smoke and the sweetness slowly giving way to it. By the end you wonder if you've been chewing on a cuban cigar.
The nose and palate are kind of flipped. With the nose it's sweetness followed by smoke. The palate is the opposite smoke and then sweetness (and then more smoke)
As I said above. An Islay classic. Not particularly subtle or complex. But it does exactly what you want it to.
If Diageo see sense on the price I'll buy more bottles.