Google Three recent Lagavulin

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

January 21, 2023





Angus's Corner
From our correspondent and
skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Scotland
Three recent Lagavulin
There was a time when doing a session titled 'three recent Lagavulin' was impossible. Now you could probably do between 2-4 such sessions each year, probably more if you added in all those vulgar yet annoyingly delicious Casks of Distinction. Make of that what you will, but I have no doubt it says something profound and interesting about the nature of the contemporary whisky world.


I still adore Lagavulin, and in particular the wonderful people that work at the distillery, so I am always happy to see more expressions on the market. Even if the 16 year old isn't quite what it used to be, in my humble and entirely unimportant opinion.



Lagavulin 10 yo (43%, OB for Travel Retail, -/+2020)

Lagavulin 10 yo (43%, OB for Travel Retail, -/+2020)
A rather cool and, on paper, legitimately good value bottling that seems to have just flown under the radar in recent years. Colour: gold. Nose: feels like a younger version of the 16yo, in a very good way and in a way that, for example, the 8yo does not. Lovely fat peat, dried seaweed, soot and earthy and rooty medicinal notes, a little seawater and a little hessian. Very smart! Mouth: excellent! Jammy, sweet, oily peat, tar extracts, seawater, iodine, sooty smoke, more tar and more of these hessian cloth notes. I also find some cured meats and various notes of herbs, ointments and salty liquorice. In some ways it is also even reminiscent of some old 12 year old Lagas at 43%, which is no mean feat! Finish: good length, very peaty, sooty, salty, tarry and earthy - terrific! Comments: extremely impressive, and especially for the price. I don't do bang for your buck bottles each month on WF, but this would almost certainly qualify. There is something charmingly old school in the use of 43% here, which works extremely well. The whole thing screams charm, confidence and charisma!
SGP: 466 - 88 points.



Lagavulin 11 yo 'Offerman Edition' Charred Oak Cask (46%, OB, 2022)

Lagavulin 11 yo 'Offerman Edition' Charred Oak Cask (46%, OB, 2022)
Nick Offerman is a very good American character actor and seemingly all round lovely guy who legitimately loves his Lagavulin (and having actually read his book I can say his love of whisky is certainly authentic). Although, it's interesting to note that, if like me you do have opinions about what Diageo should be doing with your favourite distillery, all you need to do is become a moderate celebrity and they'll bend over backwards to accommodate you. Dear Diageo, once I land a role in a reasonably popular Netflix series, can we please arrange that meeting about the Talisker 10yo 100° proof…? (I can't do Tuesdays, just for reference). Colour: gold (although the rear label mentions 'Mit Farbstoff', so caramel.) Nose: It's funny how this one is so much quieter and apparently 'lighter' than the 10yo. Green and pink peppercorn, aniseed, some background peat smoke and a little mixed olive tapenade that adds saltiness. Not too sure it's my cup of Lagavulin this… Mouth: pretty sweet, sweet peat, oak spices, sweet tarriness, wee brine touches, some preserved lemon and lapsing souchong tea. Perfectly fine, but it feels as though it has been slightly flattened out in some way. Finish: medium and actually rather nice with some root beer, cola syrup and tar liqueur along with a nice salted almond note. Comments: I have no idea how involved Mr Offerman was in the actual whisky creation, but perhaps he enjoys his Lagavulin more wood-forward than I do. I find this just a tad buried under active wood and lacking direction. The 10yo crushes it in my view.
SGP: 656 - 84 points.



Lagavulin 12 yo (57.3%, OB 'Special Releases', 2022)

Lagavulin 12 yo (57.3%, OB 'Special Releases', 2022)
Apparently this one is supposed to be called 'The Flames of The Phoenix'. So, someone in the marketing department has successfully justified their job for another year it would seem… Colour: white wine. Nose: that familiar 'hug' of Lagavulin 12 that includes hot chips drenched in malt vinegar, cornichons in brine, smoked sea salt, mezcal and gentian distillates, and a rather massive but brittle, crystalline peat smoke. Terrific distillate, not doubt. With water: pine wood smoke, green olives in brine, anchovy paste and seawater. Mouth: hey hey, great arrival, on fat and farmy peat, greasy smoke, toolbox oils, camphor and raw iodine drizzled through sheep wool (yes, every day for breakfast before you ask!) and then more of these malt vinegar and gherkin vibes. The nose felt a tad light on its feel but the palate comes home like a sledgehammer. With water: more medical tinctures, lemon juice, raw oysters and more seawater. Also more of this rather fat and grizzly peat. Finish: long, lemony, woolly peat smoke, ashy and full of raw lemon juice and dirty Martini vibes. Comments: I don't find it as luminous as previous batches (although I've missed several in recent years I must admit) but I also still think it is flying high and very much still within that 'Laga 12 groove'. Serge also tried it recently and found a bit more sweetness in this batch, not sure I get that myself, but I agree same ballpark as far as quality and score are concerned.
SGP: 367 - 89 points.



Diageo certainly seem to be putting out more weird and varied expressions of Lagavulin these days. What's for sure is that when they remain unvarnished (like the 12yo) or humble and classical (the 10yo) then they're hard to argue with.




More tasting notesCheck the index of all Lagavulin we've tasted so far







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