Peated whiskies often don’t need to be aged for an especially long time, so the Lagavulin 12 year old fits that bill well enough. It has characteristics of its 16 year old older brother, but is much more firey.
The Lagavulin 16 has won more awards than can be reasonably listed due to its full body & rich and complex flavors – truly the essence of Islay. The Lagavulin 12 year old is the brash younger brother. At cask strength 56% ABV, it really needs to be watered down to below 50% before its drinkable. It has much more pepper when compared to the 16 year old, even watered down, and it’ll certainly put hair on your chest.
Much is made of cask strength whiskies, with enthusiasts claiming that allowing the drinker to customize his or her own strength is a better idea than having some distillery do it. Cask strength whiskies are a little harder to review, because different flavors and aromas are released depending on how much water is added. Nonetheless, let’s press on.
A recurring theme for this whisky is lemon and peat. From nose to finish, these elements are present. It’s less peat than I was expecting from an Islay whisky, and the lemon flavor results in a very ‘fresh’ tasting whisky. That is, if you can see through the fire that is emanating from your every orifice. This whisky has balls. Also present are a mild acidity in keeping with the lemon flavor and the typical saltiness of Islay. Although it’s heresy to some, I took the advice of another reviewer and tried this on the rocks. The hair on my chest didn’t grow as thick or as fast, but it made this cask strength whisky a whole lot more enjoyable to my tastes. Each to their own.
The downside of the Lagavulin 12 is its rarity compared to the 16. The 12 year old has been bottled less frequently, and is much more expensive as a result. At a lower price, the Lagavulin 12 year old would be a lot more attractive. As it is, it’s better value for money to purchase the Lagavulin 16 year old instead. While some people will love the fire of the 12 year old, I much prefer the sophisticated elegance of the 16.
Lagavulin 12 Year Old Information
- Type: 12 year old cask strength single malt Scotch whisky
- Region: Islay
- ABV: 56%
- Price guide: 70 British Pounds, 100 USD. Different bottlings hold different values, try and get one from 2011 or earlier.