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I had been meaning to put two hard hitters against each other for a while now but never got around to doing it. But tonight I had the house all to my self and figured I had no excuses.
For this epic heads up battle I chose two of my favorite cask strength whiskies from Islay: The Laphroaig Cask Strength Batch 005 and the Lagavulin 12 - 2012.
Individually they both score very high on my scale but I had never had them side to side so I never really knew which one I liked better.
Lagavulin 12 . 2012 / 56.1%
Nose: Peat butter. Smoke. Red apples. Sour (like tamarind). Lots of greens. Sharp acid like lemon citrus. Ash
Palate: Fiery peppers. Apricot. Pineapple sponge cake. Peat. Smoke. Fresh greens. Cucumber.
Finish: Long. Mint. Spice.
Nose: 22 | Palate: 23 | Finish: 23 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 90
Laphroaig Cask Strength Batch 005 / 57.2%
Nose: Sweet. Honey. Jam. Maple. Cardboard. Red sweets. Coca Cola. Cherry licorice. Caramel. Hint of peat. Iodine.
Palate: Cherries. Black pepper. Bitter chocolate. Peat. All spice. Burnt jam. Oak.
Finish: Long. Spicy. Dark chocolate. Iodine.
Nose: 23 | Palate: 23 | Finish: 23 | Balance: 23 | Rating: 92
So here's the verdict.
While the Lagavulin 12 is a quality dram the Laphroaig just manages to edge past in the nose and the overall balance of the dram. It is just that much more flavorful with hints of exotic.
The Lagavulin is raw power while the Laphroaig much easier to drink even though it's at a higher ABV. And for me that tips the scales in it's balance.
Definitely a very enjoyable match up!