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First, this is my first Lagavulin 12 yo so I can't compare it to the 2010 or any other that some of you were so found of. But One thing is for sure, the power is there but tame at the same time which is for me the Lagavulin way and Lovers of the 16 yo will understand me. Yes, everything is integrated and well balance. That is for a cask strenght! But let start now.
Nose: I just opened the bottle so, of course, I put my nose over it and it is wonderfull. There is smoke almost like Ardbeg Ten and then some meaty peat like Laphroaig QC but lighter. I pour my dram and the smoke and meat are way back for a little disappointment. Instead I found a lot of green hay, salt and brine with some tangy citrus and something else that I don't get yet. What I get, though, is the reference to Bruichladdich that Victor used for the 2010. Those herbs with the salt are Bruichladdichian if I may say so. But there is no funky sour herbs like ther is a lot in Springbank in a hint in Bruichladdich. There is also a growing vanilla put well integrated with that thing that puzzles me.
Palate: The palate brings the peat back both with the smoke and the meat. So it follows more the nose of the bottle than the nose of the glass. It is very sweet but a nice counterpoint to the increasing citrus that you get with air. And suddenlly I get it! I don't know how they are doing it as the mouth is not thin but not that oily either; but I found pure butter in this scotch! I know the vanilla is part of this impression but that is not the butter that you will find in Speysider with honey and Vanilla ice cream! No! It is simple butter at room temperature. It is as if somebody, to calm the alcohol, would have put a stick of cool butter in my scotch! As I was saying, it is not that oily, so don't be afraid. But it is a tamer of the power.
Finish: The finish is not strong but has a good lenght. As a Lagavulin it has good balance. Very good one! Those who are looking for highlights will be disappointed, but those who will focus on the butter will appreciate this scotch.
Conclusion: If you are looking for pure power that may not be the one for you. I may now have to resort to an oxymoron to explain this dram so let me go for it. Those of you that are lookink for SOFT power will like it. For me the disappointment comes on the empty glass who follows the nose of the glass with the green hay and the citrus with almost no smoke and just some vanilla without butter. But I really enjoy the palate for its uniqueness.
Now, do I rate it with the nose of the bottle or of the glass. I will go with the bottle to be kind and because that is the one that stays in my memory so it would be hard to do a good accessment of the nose of the glass.