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Lagavulin distillery was founded by John Johnston on the South shore of Islay in 1816, one year after Ardbeg distillery had been established. In 1825 Johnston acquired the nearby Ardmore distillery, and in 1837 the two distilleries were merged under the name Lagavulin by Donald Johnston. In 1852 the distillery was taken over by John Crawford Graham and passed on to James Logan Mackie & Co. in 1867. In 1878 James Logan Mackie employed his nephew Peter Mackie who took over the management and ownership of Lagavulin in 1889 and who is famous for launching the White Horse blend – of which Lagavulin single malt whisky is an important component – just one year later. The distillery went through a difficult time in the 1980s and for most of the decade only operated two days a week. Production was increased again in 1991, and today Lagavulin is one of the most beloved Islay single malts. This 12-year old was launched as one of Diageo’s special releases in 2013. It was matured in refill Bourbon casks and bottled at 55.1%.
The nose is malty, milky, and richly phenolic. Light smoke is accompanied by lemons, brine and very light vanilla flavours. In addition, there are some salty and grassy notes.
The palate is full-bodied, peppery and dry. Lemon and grassy flavours are now quite distinct, together with rich smoke, white pepper and seaweed.
The finish is long, smoky and warming. Smoke is accompanied by wood spiciness, lemons and brine.
Another great edition of a 12-year old Lagavulin, although the palate was a tad too dry for my taste. This one is just one notch below my favourite, the 2012 release.