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Lagavulin 12 YO Cask Strength 2015

Peat bomb with finesse

3 2093

@NozinanReview by @Nozinan

16th Jun 2017

0

  • Nose
    ~
  • Taste
    ~
  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
    93

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

This is another one of the high powered peat bombs we opened on May 21 after @TAlexander’s party last month. It was about 4/5 full, and not opened since that day, well-gassed.

This expression is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle into a Glencairn (only one glass tonight) after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.


Nose: (the nose was definitely stronger in the snifter when I opened it)

Neat – Soft (surprising as it was covered 10 min.). There’s some peat, a hint of rubber tire, and maybe a little iodine. Maybe a hint of lemon. A little muted. 21/25

With water – More lemony, less rubbery. Dry peat. Still muted. The Ashok manoeuvre, which I find works best with Amruts, delivers a much more vibrant, lemony nose. (23/25)

Taste:

Neat – Extremely rich arrival, with sweetness and mouth-drying peat. It is oily, thick, and coats the mouth. Lemon pepper in the development. Really delicious. 22.5/25

With water – Warmed by hand, the richness exploded on the first sip. There’s some lemon pith, maybe a little white grapefruit. (23.5/25)

Finish:

Lots of peat. Astringent. A little ash but not a lot. 22/25. With water I get lemon pepper and grapefruit pith. Lasts a long time. (22.5/25)

Balance:

Neat, the nose and palate are two different Scotches. The peat is quite apparent on the palate but there is other stuff going on. 22/25 With water and a little warmth the flavours in the nose and palate are more aligned, more intense, more complex. (23/25)

Score: Neat - 87.5/100 With Water: 92/100

Adjusted Score based on enjoyment: 93/100


This is a very good Scotch, and one of my favourite batches of this expression. When I compare it to my notes from my review of the 2011 I can’t decide which one I like more.

I think I made the mistake of reviewing this in my cold basement. Neat, I didn’t have the benefit of warming the glass with my hand (wish I’d thought of that) and it may have contributed to the discrepancy between the 2 scores.

I think I like the 2012 best of the three official expressions I’ve tried (@TAlexander’s Elements of Islay Lg2 may have been my favourite). I would dearly love to get my hands on a second bottle, but I can’t see myself paying $160 for a bottle these days. I picked this one up for $3.50 by trading in a gifted Glenfiddich 18.

This one will likely not find its way to a tasting that includes people who have no self control (I have a friend who would love this and who could herself easily drain half of what is left in a sitting). It will come out on quiet, special occasions when it can be shared with someone who will appreciate what it’s worth…

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20 comments

@Hewie
Hewie commented

Sounds good. I'd like to try some other Lagavulin variations. Interesting comment about the temperature - I find a little hand warmth can make a huge difference to my enjoyment of a dram. I've seen you mention the "Ashok manoeuvre" a few times now - can you share the secret? I haven't managed to find the instructions yet. Cheers

5 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

It's not so much a secret as a technique he used, with most of the drams in the 2014 Spirit of Toronto Masterclass, but specifically the effect on the Peated Cask Strength was magical.

While he spoke too us about an aspect of Amrut malt, he instructed us to cup the bowl of the stemmed glass with one hand and cover the top with the other. The warmth increased the volatility of the malt, and the nose opened up beautifully. The whisky exploded in the mouth...

The Modified Ashok Manoeuvre was a product of my laziness. I have a small desktop computer that has a cooling fan that blows heated air across the back of my desk. I just place a covered glass at the outlet and it does the work for me.

5 years ago 2Who liked this?

@Hewie
Hewie commented

Ha ha genius. Thanks for that. I think I like the hands on method myself. One thing I've found is that often I stick my nose deep into the glass trying to detect those subtle notes when sometimes I pick up more with my nose wafting a couple of inches away.

5 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

Wonderful stuff - I'm hanging onto it as long as I can...

5 years ago 0

Taco commented

Probably my favorite peater, with Laphroaig 10 CS close behind. Big problem is the huge jump in price over the last two years. Went from $65 to $80 to $110 to $140 in that time frame. They can piss off, along with Macallan and Dalmore. I can get great high strength bourbons for $35-$65, so I've moved in that direction.

5 years ago 2Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

@Taco , I agree. I got one bottle of Lagavulin 12 was it was ~$100 (2014). I would hardly pay that amount again, let alone the $120 that the newer ones are price at.

It's great, but there's plenty of stuff that's just as good for a fraction of the price.

5 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@Taco

Back in 2011 I think it was, the Lag 12 2010 was available at the KGBO for just over $100. I asked a friend to get one of the last bottles in London, and he refused to let me pay him back. I still have that bottle unopened. After tasting the 2011 and 2014 versions I was keen to have a supply but the price last winter for the 2015, $160, was way too much.

The only reason I got it was that I had been gifted a "Fiddich" 18 (bought for ~$120 in Calgary) which the LCBO gladly exchanged for me (They gave me the KGBO price and I added $3.50.

I did a similar trade in with a Glenmorangie signet for some pricy Caol Ila last year as well. It's the only way I can afford expensive whiskies...not with my own money.

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@Nozinan In 2014, Lag 12 was $105, at the end of 2015 it was $115 and last year it jumped to $140 and this year it is $160. When will it end?

5 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

@Robert99 It'll end when we stop buying it!! :P

5 years ago 3Who liked this?

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@talexander Your so right. While a lot of whiskies went up, Bowmore 18 went down $20 or $30 dollars in the last two years.

5 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@Robert99 If it's anything like the one I reviewed it's still too expensive

5 years ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@Nozinan I tried 3 different bottles of the same batch, one was great, the second was fair and the third was a bit off. I ended up with the last one. I will not buy another one before a long time.

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@Robert99, very interesting. Your experience sounds to me to be a good demonstration about how much bottles of peated whisky can vary depending upon when they were bottled within the same bottling run.

I've seen substantial differences in bottles of Uigeadail procured from different stores in different states which had been bottled on the very same day.

5 years ago 0

@plattvillepeat
plattvillepeat commented

@Victor to what extent is a batch mixed before/during a bottling run?

5 years ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@Victor The three bottles I am referring to were from the same store. The first one had a unique hemp rope note that I was crazy about, the second was almost a sherry monster and the third had a blackcurrant bud vegetal note that was over the top.

That makes me wondering about the way they mixed all the casks before bottling. What do you call a batch? I assumed it was all the bottles coming out from a mix of specifics casks at one time but I'm not sure anymore.

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@plattvillepeat, I think that only someone present during a bottling run can say exactly how much or how little mixing/agitation/variation takes place during the process. I wish I knew.

@Robert99, I understand batch to refer to a vatting of barrels/casks which are then bottled. There is, apparently, the possibility of significant variation within the bottles coming from one vatting/bottling.

5 years ago 0

@MadSingleMalt
MadSingleMalt commented

I've never seen how a bottling operation works, but it seems to me that there could be multiple batches that happen on the same day and go out under the same ID. So you'd have two bottles that are labeled as coming "from the same batch," but they're actually different. Just speculating!

5 years ago 2Who liked this?

@fiddich1980
fiddich1980 commented

Very good review and decent comments. I wish Serge @Whiskyfun would stop giving it such high marks. Then maybe the price will come down. The 2012 batch was exceptional.

5 years ago 0

Taco commented

@MadSingleMalt - That is not so bad but I do the math and can get bottles of Ardbeg 10, ECBP, and WT 101 for about that price. Heck, if money was not an object, I'd be stocked with GD18, Balvenie 17, Ardbeg 23, Macallan 18, HP 25, etc. I do have a sealed Booker's 25th Anniversary, which some show online for $700-800. First guy to send me $700 can have it! Then I could justify $100 for the Laga 12.

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

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