26 January 2019

Lagavulin 12yo (bottled in 2012)

Lagavulin, one of the heavier distilleries on Islay. Not particularly because of the peat level of the barley, because that’s exactly the same as Caol Ila’s. It’s the shorter fermentation and shape of the stills which make Lagavulin this bold and full of phenolic flavours.

I must say that I find the 16yo pretty enjoyable, although I prefer my Lagavulin without sherry influences. And while the bourbon matured 8yo is a bit weak (it feels like a less version of the 200th anniversary 8yo), the 12yo is a huge leap in terms of balance and flavours.

Bottled at cask strength and matured on American hogsheads, this may be one of my favourite drams from Islay. One that I can always return to, and it never seems to disappoint.

Tasting notes


Fresh and fruity flavours, with sweet barley, tropical fruits, toasted oak with a salty breeze. A very pleasant nose.


Minerally, biscuits, grilled pineapples, ripe stone fruits and charred oak. Nicely sweet and malty.


Smokey barley, coppery fruits, mainly ripe yellow fruits, beautifully balanced, toasted oak, minerals, sweet but in a fresh way, fresh but in no way sour. It ends with a warm whiff of smoke from a freshly burnt match. The taste of embers stick around for a while in the aftertaste.

Conclusion: this is a dram I can’t live without. It’s not often the case that one core range bottle overshadows all the other expressions. The price point may be a bit steep for some, but if you like Lagavulin and never tasted this: prepare yourself for something good!