Lagavulin 2010 Distillery Only Bottling Review

Lagavulin 2010 Distillery Only Bottlingbarry's place pics 063

52.5% abv

Score:  92.5/100


A couple years back, while vacationing and touring distilleries on Islay, I happened to luck into one of those wee windows where there just happened to be a couple of rare little treats available exclusively through some of the distilleries’ shops.

Both of the active Diageo distilleries on the island, Caol Ila and Lagavulin, happened to have nifty limited run treats for those who ventured to these beautiful Hebridean shores.

As you can imagine, in this day and age where there seems to be a premium levied on all things Islay, these extremely limited releases never last long on the shelves.  I instantly fell in love with the Lagavulin release, but was slightly underwhelmed by the Caol Ila.  Needless to say, my suitcase was one bottle of Lag heavier when I came back to Canada.  In retrospect I wish I had nabbed two or three.

I haven’t met a soul who has tried this one that hasn’t adored it.  This is Lagavulin with both class and ooomph.  Awesome stuff.

Nose:  Damn, is this assertive.  Vinegar and iodine.  Farmy with a gorgeous peat reek.  Sherry notes.  BBQish.  Spicy tobacco…a la strong cigar.  Cherry.

Palate:  Smoke.  Strongly peaty and medicinal.  Fruit notes wafting through the curtain of smoke.  Little hint of mint over lamb.  Sharp wet tarry notes meet a thick syrupy sherry sweetness.

There’s some age here.  How old?  Who knows.  I’m thinking though, that has might be a couple years on from the standard 16 year old flagship.  There is a beautiful harmony and complexity in the meld of peat and sweet (apparently PX).

Still haven’t cracked this bottle yet.  One day the right occasion will call.  Those fortunate enough to be around at that point will be tasked with helping me lay this Lagavulin to rest.  And it will be a good day.


-Reviewed by:  Curt

-Photo:  Curt

5 thoughts on “Lagavulin 2010 Distillery Only Bottling Review

  1. Phil

    Wow that sounds delicious!

    Have you had a chance to try the Lagavulin 12 year Special Edition yet? I’m newer to scotch, so I’m not entirely sure how often they release this, but I know they did a 2011 and a 2012 release for sure. I picked up the 2012 Special Edition a month ago and it has quickly become a favorite. Bottled at cask strength, it packs a lot more punch than the 16 year, and I’ve always been curious to see how a younger Lagavulin would taste. I think the younger age combined with cask strength bottling really did amazing things for this one.

    1. ATW Post author

      Yeah…I have tried a couple of the 12s, but still fence-sit as to whether I prefer the 12 or 16 (discussion I recently had with Maltmonster recently too. He’s a 16 guy).

      Tried the Lag New Make, a couple of 12 yos, 16yo, Dist Ed, 2012 21 yo, 30 yo, 2010 dist bottle, 17 PX cask sample and one or two others. All awesome.

  2. David

    I’ve tried the 16, and maybe because I had it right after a cask strength sherry bomb, I found it a little thin. The smoke was quite pungent. I also have a cask strength 12. I look forward to cracking it someday.

    1. ATW Post author

      That’s probably exactly what it was. Do retry the 16. It is an absolute classic. The 12 is great too. Less elegant, but an absolute explosion of awesome.

  3. Robert

    Lagavulin 12 is one of my top 4 scotches, better than the 16, but also a different taste profile. Try a half dram comparison with Corryvrecken and Laphroaig 10 CS. A real treat of heavyweights.


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