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Lagavulin 12 Year Old bottled 2011 11th Release

Average score from 4 reviews and 4 ratings 93

Lagavulin 12 Year Old bottled 2011 11th Release

Product details

  • Brand: Lagavulin
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 57.5%
  • Age: 12 year old
  • Bottled: 2011

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Lagavulin 12 Year Old bottled 2011 11th Release

For my 100th review on this site, I thought I’d opt for something special. While I don’t like to toss around the term ‘favorite,’ I consider this to be among the cream of the crop when it comes to single malts. It ranks so highly on my “Holy-sh!t-that’s-good”-o-meter that it took me a few drams before I even WANTED to start sipping it analytically. Now that I have, here are my notes for the 2011 release. It’s been open for two months, is half full, and was sampled with a small amount of water.

Nose: The usual suspects of peat, seaweed, brine, and citrus are immediately apparent. Sea air, leather, mustard seed, ginger, glazed ham, damp leaves, and a juicy, rich barley note. This is potent and very structured.

Palate: Medium-light mouthfeel. True to Lagavulin form, the arrival is very controlled. We aren’t blasted with flavours, we’re steadily guided into them. But these flavours are BIG. There’s a very intense, clean, crisp peat here. More of that juicy barley kicks in, as do lemon lozenges, tea, sea salt, glazed ham, green apple, mint, sponge cake, and rum balls.

Finish: The crisp, clean, intense peat carries on. Tea, twigs, barley, brine, pastry crust, lemon tart, cinnamon, allspice, Jamaican jerk spice, jerked beef, minerals, menthol, ginger, and something faintly reminiscent of curry.

Well, there’s no getting around it; this is brilliant. As I mentioned in my review of the 16, the Laga house style is defined by a delicate balance of restraint and force. So it comes as no surprise that this whisky is characterized by complexity, control, and intensity. It won’t disappoint those who want to experience the elegance and balance of the 16 with the raw force of a peated cask-strength whisky. This comes greatly recommended. It’s beautifully balanced, wonderfully rich, and a truly delicious whisky through and through.

Hunggar, your reviews have been making me more jealous lately. Well done. This bottle is a terrific chance to dig in. I really like reviews when a smart reviewer especially appreciates a bottle. Very fun to see, and I don't doubt your ability to gauge this very special Lag

Happy 100, hunggar! I knew this was coming after the 16yo review comments, but missed it while away. As of today I'm still a "16 > 12" person, so I was curious about your stance. Well expressed as always, and... we'll be looking forward to the next 100! No pressure.


The Lagavulin 12 is a champion of many and a mystery to a few, although through the reviews related to the 2012 edition one feels that it is characterful of the hard times actual to the world outside your window. The last Lagavulin 12s have not been up to the standard, so i decided to give some very recent past nostalgia (if you can even call it that, as it is from 2011). This is known to being the last great year of the 12 year old.

Nose: Foggy, seaside towns morning, in october. Autumn leaves and spent matches. Classic Lagavulin with Lapsang-souchon smoky-tea note. Subtle peat, big but elegant. Grassy but nothing dominates, everything is in place. Slight and subtle iodine and seaspray. Delicate smoke surrounding the ensemble

Palate: Bonfire and Harbor peat with a complex barley sweetness. The peat is very crisp, but yet mellow, calm, collected and very sophisticated. Candy floss, lemon drops and sweet lemon juice, vanilla pods. The vegetal grassy note comes back from the nose alongside some mushrooms!

The peat comes back for a glorified encore. Grassy, bonfire and seaside/seashore peat. The lemon/vanilla combo comes back to balance out some vegetal bitter tones from the oak and the peat.

A Gentle Giant of a dram this, if the giant is of the more cultivated or educated type! Am going to enjoy every last drop of this if things do not improve soon for Lagavulin, or even if they do. Great Peat Legend. Monster would be too vulgar for this..

I experienced this one quite the same, but I didnt have any problem with the 2012 version. Yeah it seemed a little more timid at first, but (in my opinion) it just needed some water and after 5-10 minutes it opened up wonderfully :)

Glad to hear, the bad things are only things i've read or heard, so no direct experience of the blemishes of the past years lagavulins. I am not the biggest Laga-fan but it is an icon of a malt, and a very tasty one, so i do wish the distillery the best.


Back in the midst of time Lagavulin and Laphroaig had a rather more lively rivalry than they do today. In fact, there was even a still within Lagavulin (AKA Malt-mill) attempting to replicate the Laphroaig spirit! Now though Lagavulin is well appreciated for its own character.

These distilleries are sort of old money in the world of Islay with the emergence and resurgence of others, especially Ardeg, Kilchoman along with Bruichladdich and all of its derivations. This should not be forgotten, Islays distinctive aristocrat, 12 years old and at cask strength.

  • Nose: reasonably well balanced to be honest. Smoky sooty peat, medium earthiness, seaweed, very over-extracted coffee. With water smoked fish, dry earth, more intense coffee, and a much more phenolic style of peat, pungent, some petrol. These are all big powerful aromas, but they are well woven together very well, she’s a complex nose.

  • Pallet: fire, intense salt, aniseed bitterness, plenty of peat, almond, just a hint of citrus sweetness there, trying to get a look in, dark chocolate, bitter coffee again. With water starts with sweet toffee, stone fruit, then salt again, then the peat builds as you hold and swallow, notes of dark chili chocolate, something slightly mineral and definitely rose water, maybe even a touch of jasmine as well.

  • Finish: quite nutty, the peat and smoke built up and fade away regularly, some sweetness there too, hard to pin down but it’s there, salty, eventually it goes a bit acidic and dry. With water clings to your cheeks, it’s nice dry earth, medium peat and smoke wafting away, savoury finish, elements of citrus again and cocoa. Very dry

  • Mark neat – 8.5, with water – 9.2.

If you can be bothered reading an extended metaphor, please continue, if not, fair enough and thanks for getting this far.

Lagavulin is to Laphroaig as Audi is to Lamborghini. The Laga's is very peaty, its phenolic but its not outrageous or ridiculous, its controlled, measured, well engineered. This is not to say its boring or anything, as you can see i very much like it. It's complex and beautifully constructed whisky, but everything is on a leash, everything is efficient. I like that sort of thing.

I think I'll have to try Laga 12 again - always thought of it as the more 'honest' sibling of the 16 in that it's cask strength with less faffing.

I've heard the history of Malt-Mill, (closed 1962 I think). Now I wonder how much a bottle of Single Malt Malt-Mill would be worth if one was ever uncovered?

@conorrob Cheers! From what ive read the 2010 release is a little sweeter than the 2011 so good luck!

@masterj yeh this is a good'n hopefully my private preserve can maintain it in this condition!

@Nemesis101 i would recommend it! havent had the 16 since last year maybe? Thoroughly enjoyable but the 12 is a bit beefier. I think your bang on with Malt Mill, a tantalizing question indeed!


Nose: An eclectic orgy of flavour, one wouldn't even know where to begin. It's the classic tango of sweet and smoke that seemingly only Lagavulin can achieve with such elegance and consistency across all of its range. Here we have toffeed herrings, lamb with orange jelly, vanilla sponge with seaweed syrup, and vegetable ratatouille infused with cigar smoke. Walnuts and avocados are spread on a wet lawn, while raspberry coulis and candle wax is spread on a freshly polished wooden floor, all for us to enjoy. Mesmerising stuff.

Taste: More sweet and smoke dance routines here, however perhaps from the tango on the nose we moved a more slower-paced waltz. Apple shisha smoke wafts through as we sip on a coffee frappucino, still enjoying the vanilla sponge cake found on the nose. Following the frappucino we move on to a more traditional lapsang souchong tea, to accompany the blood oranges, and ginger meringue. Course sea-salt and beach pebble add a savoury mineral underscore to this most endearing of waltzes.

Finish: The more chemical and mineral underscore becomes very much the leading melody in this final dance. Menthol vanilla, luxury soap, chocolate covered salt-lick, coffee beans and lapsang souchong tea-leaves. This more sober and savoury finish means that there is no cloying or over-indulgence in the richness of flavour, and thus leaves us ready to go straight back in for another sip. And at cask strength this is a dangerously seductive routine.

Balance: Truly stunning whisky, so confident in its charismatic elegance. There is so much depth and breadth of flavour, yet so well married together and contained. It hardly even feels like its trying. Total ballroom finesse.

I have a bottle of this coming over on the plane from Singapore tonight. I should probably wait until I have tasted it before commenting, but I am almost wetting myself in anticipation.

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