Lagavulin 12 Years Old Cask Strength – 2014 Special Release

Single malt scotch whisky

54.4% ABV, £75 for 70cl available from Alexander & James

Score: 86/100

Laga12SR2014

What they say:

This is the thirteenth in a series of special 12 year old releases from the original distiller’s stocks. This Lagavulin has a lighter spring in its step – cereals, citrus and the signature smoke play major roles in this release.

Toffee and fruit, and zesty lemon, it’s not unlike a slice of rich fruitcake eaten by a wood-fired stove.

Lagavulin 12yo 2014SR

What I say:

Every year Diageo release a range of Special Release bottles that range from the sublime to the ridiculous. Within most people’s budget are two whiskies that I have sampled over the past few years; 1 from Caol Ila, usually unpeated and the Lagavulin 12 year old cask strength edition. This year both retailed at £75 a bottle. For the ridiculous look towards the Port Ellen and Brora bottlings that usually crash in with 4 figure RRP’s. In between there are often gems, such as this year a 21 year old Rosebank at £300.

In my experience the Lagavulin 12 probably offers the best value for money if you are interested in drinking the whisky in the bottle (i.e. not for collectors).

Colour:

Straw gold with thick/heavy tears

Nose:

Rich, malty, marmite, lactic, peat smoke, cereal barley, bbq meats

Taste:

Rich, malty and creamy, milk chocolate or hot cocoa, vanilla fudge, butterscotch, Scottish tablet, sweet, thick and meaty, ashen peat

Finish:

Long cereal malt and peat smoke

Overall:

Much creamier and much more gentle and subtle than the standard Lagavulin 16 year old, hugely accessible and surprising that the cask strength doesn’t show at all, perfectly drinkable straight out of the bottle. Lacks a little complexity of the 16yo and the peat isn’t as intense, but definitely one to buy if you are a Lagavulin fan!