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Lagavulin 12 Year Old bottled 2012 12th Release

Powerful salty peat

0 1184

@Nemesis101Review by @Nemesis101

25th Nov 2014

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
    84

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

This is a bottle I have had open for approx. 8 months now and just reaching the end of it. Notes are all with just a few drops of water, but still keeping the abv high.

It is a much lighter coloured malt than the 16yo, thereby slightly more reassuring that there is no colouring in it.

Nose: This is more on the peaty rather than smokey side when compared to the 16yo. It has a prominent dry saltiness about it but tempered with a strong layer of sweetness. Notes of salty liquorice before it opens up revealing more traditional medicinal and seaweed hints. It's actually fairly close to a Laphroaig profile.

Palate: More of the same on the palate. A massive hit of salty peat, with seaweed layered throughout. But it also has a fairly thick sweetness too, which kind of makes it reminiscent of salty caramel. It evolves into more of a smokey sweet dram over time.

Finish: As expected very dry, with alternating sweet/bitter hints that linger.

The 16yo is smoother and more restrained. This is more of a powerful bruiser. It's a decent hitter and a cask strength Lagavulin is always welcome.

The price however - I paid about £60-odd earlier this year which I thought was a bit on the high side. I've just checked the 2014 edition which is now at £80! Personally I think that is vastly overpriced for a 12yo whisky. Perhaps I'm behind the times with current prices, but £50-£55 would seem much fairer. This being the main area it has lost points in.

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11 comments

@PeatyZealot
PeatyZealot commented

I wasnt all too impressed by this one either, Its decent indeed, but for a 12yo I didnt get much wood influence. Imagine this bottled at 46%, I think there wouldnt be much left to admire. Do you take the price into consideration when giving the points?

4 years ago 0

@Ol_Jas
Ol_Jas commented

I haven't had any version of the Lagavulin 12 CS, but it's one I fantasize about on occasion. I would think the closest point of comparison is the Laphroaig 10 CS. Is it much better than the Laphroaig.

Like Nemesis101, I'm feeling a bit honked about the price on the Lagavulin 12. It's $100 USD by me, whereas the Laphroaig is $60. I love the hell out of the Laphroaig and I'm sure I'd love the Lagavulin too, but I seriously doubt it's worth the price differential. I can feel myself being drawn by the Lagavulin "brand." This is why you make purchases slowly—a, it's fun to think about, but mostly b) you realize that a purchase you might want to jump on just isn't worth it.

4 years ago 0

@Ol_Jas
Ol_Jas commented

Typo—that was supposed to be a question: Is the Lag 12 much better than the Laphroaig 10 CS?

4 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@OlJas, there is no substitute for you tasting the Lag 12 for yourself. Different year releases do vary. Almost everyone likes the 2010, 2011, and 2013. The 2012 release was a little less intense and has many fans, but also quite a few detractors, as you can see.

Around here Lag 12 has seasonal periodic availability. Sometimes it can be had here for as little as $ 60 plus tax, but $ 90-100 is more the norm. It's a little pricey, but very worthwhile. It just tastes different from Laphroaig CS, for sure. "Better" or "worse"? For me I like the best of Lag 12 (e.g. 2010) slightly more than most batches of Laphroaig 10 CS, MOST OF THE TIME. Individual mood is the determinant as to which I would prefer at any given time. So, to me, "better or worse?" is meaningless in this context. I would always want and choose to have the option of both of these products available to me all the time to fit the range of moods and contexts in which I would choose to drink them.

I consider Laphroaig 10 CS (together with Ardbeg Ten) the best peaty value for money out there, as do quite a few other people.

4 years ago 0

@Ol_Jas
Ol_Jas commented

Well I'd love to taste the Lagavulin 12 for myself, but to do so will cost me $100, which is a 66% premium over the $60 Laphroaig. They seem pretty similar and of pretty comparable quality, so the Lagavulin is feeling like a rip-off to me.

I know that part of the Lagavulin's draw for me is the brand, as I started saying above. The bottles look great and there's an inviting mystique around Lagavulin that you (I) want to be part of. Having the bottle on my bar would make me feel a little awesome. Sad, but I admit it.

Also, I'm a fan of peat & Islay in general, and I feel like I'm always skipping over Lagavulin as I make my rounds. Most other Islay distilleries have a bottle that I feel good about buying:

•Ardbeg: Ten or Corryvreckan

•Bowmore: (OK, I guess Bowmore is also lacking an obvious choice, though I'm keen to try a Dorus Mor or a CS IB. Bowmore is the Islay distillery that I'm most likely to forget about.)

•Bruichladdich: Any Port Charlotte

•Bunnahabhain: A peated IB

•Caol Ila: A cask strength IB

•Kilchoman: Machir Bay, I guess. I thought it was totally decent and only slightly overpriced.

•Laphroaig: QC or CS

•Lagavulin: ??? The 16 is watered down and too expensive; the 12 is too expensive; they don't do IBs—maybe my best shot is one of those mystery malts that people claim to be Lagavulin.

So I guess my real "problem" is just trying to find a decent-value Lagavulin or giving up on the brand. Oh what a world.

Thanks to anyone who reads this. I find it useful to "think out loud" as it were, and I ususally find comments like this from others interesting to read—I hope I'm not alone in that.

4 years ago 0

@PeatyZealot
PeatyZealot commented

@OIJas: Although not from Islay, dont forget Ledaig, Longrow and the peated Benriachs :)

4 years ago 0

@Nemesis101
Nemesis101 commented

The Lag 12 was decent but nothing more than that. For the price I'd expect a bit more - hence the mark down.

It's a long long time since I tried Laphroaig 10 CS so I can't really offer any comparisons, but I do think Lagavulin is selling itself more by brand name these days than anything else. Over here, the 16 has topped £50 now but then again Ardbeg 10 is £40+ in most places. Maybe these are just modern day prices that we have to accept.

I don't know if Berry Brothers are available in the US/Canada but they generally are far and away the best indie bottles I've tried. Had some excellent releases from Caol Ila, Laphroaig, Bowmore, Bunnahabhain, (not Lag or Ardbeg though).

4 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@OlJas, as Bowmore goes, you sound to me more like a Laimrig guy.

I don't own a bottle of 2012 Lagavulin 12, but I have tasted it, and about 150 other whiskies which I have never owned, because I have 'buddies'.

4 years ago 0

@Ol_Jas
Ol_Jas commented

@Victor, thanks for the pointer to Bowmore Laimrig. It seems pretty uncommon (smaller batches) so I don't think it's ever been on my radar. It will be now.

4 years ago 0

@Ol_Jas
Ol_Jas commented

Whisky Advocate has all the scores from their current issue posted to their website now. The Lagavulin 12 got a surprisingly low (for Lagavulin) 83:

whiskyadvocate.com/shelf_talker.php/…

No mention of them subtracting losing points for pricing, like @Nemesis101 did here. :)

4 years ago 0

@tjb
tjb commented

All very interesting. I just saw this in my local off for £47.99 am was going to snap it up but as I have already exceeded my "new bottle allocation" this month by 300% I figure I will wait and force patience upon myself.

4 years ago 0

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