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The first whisky to ever hook me was the Lagavulin 16yr. Such a lovely dram. It reminded me of the first time I went camping with my father (25+ years ago, I was 11 or so) we had a warm campfire and were cooking baked beans in a can over it. This was the first night I ever saw the Milky-way without the obstruction of city/town lights - wondrous! We just hung out and watched the fire die to glowing embers & fell asleep. That's the feel of the Lagavulin 16 for me.
This 12yr is a little different, not as cozy and a little less natural. This is more like a lazer-light-show version of the Milky-way, sans Pink Floyd.
On the Nose - Lemon zest, oak, vanilla, and faint smoke. Salty & spicey, singed hair.
Palate - Bam!!! biting smoke, almost effervescent. A little melon perhaps and the smoke returns, oh, now oaky
Finish - Long, peaty, pleasing, seltzer type feel lasts for a while with lingering water doused fire flavor
Here's where it get's weird - I never do this but, I added a little water because, WTF, right?
BAD IDEA! - Changes:
Nose - spent rubber bands, burning rubber a little vanilla, mostly the rubber bands
Palate - Mouth feel got real oily, but bad oily. Think bad vegetable oil. The flavor is almost like artificial rubber (isn't rubber artificial? Imagine a fake version of that - odd!)
Finish - oiliness stays, so does the rubber but smoke comes to the rescue.
In the end, after water, I wanted to shave my tongue. Blech!
Without water - fabulous, with water - shaved tongue. I am scoring based on without water.