The Lagavulin 12 is a fixed value in the Special Releases. The aristocrat of Islay is the 'fiercest and smokiest' of the gang, hence 'The Lion's Fire'. When I was on Islay the other day, I didn't see a single lion there, I have to say. Anyway, matured on refill American oak. The previous three releases I found really excellent, so the bar for this Laga is also very high.
On the nose it is surprisingly soft with only a sigh of smoke. The medicinal notes are present (think burn ointment and a band-aid). Then beautiful notes of sweet malt with a lot of citrus and white pepper. The juice from a jar of olives. Seaweed. Rocks in the surf. Plasticine. Elegant and inviting. A lot less sweet than last year's edition. But this is again great.
Yes! On the palate it is Lagavulin pur sang. Very smoky. Sweet smoke, really. Powerful notes of lemon and pepper (feel free to make that chili), supplemented with olives, oysters and a lot of toasted oak. A perfect balance between sweet, salty and bitter (from the wood) notes.
The aftertaste is smoky, salty, peated on lemon and stockfish. So satisfying. The best one of the series – again. I buy these blind every year. You cannot go wrong with this one.