Just realized how few of the Lag 12 CS releases we’ve actually looked at here on ATW and kinda feeling a bit of shame right now. This is definitely a release worth following year upon year. Buying it, however, has gotten harder and harder. Not for lack of availability, but because of sky high pricing locally. Over the past couple of years we’ve gone from about $120 up to nearly $180. Ouch.
But old man grumblings aside (“back in my day, we could buy Lagavulin 12 for…”) this is a really good malt. Some of the 12s have seemed a little thin in recent years, almost one-trick-ponies in a sense. This 2015 limited release, however, has a little more to it than initially meets the eye. It needs a bit of time to develop in the glass, but allowing the clock to tick away long enough for the fruits and soft vanilla notes to come forth is well worth it.
I know there has been mention for a couple years now of declining quality of Lagavulin (especially as it relates to the 16 year old), but as I’ve said before, I haven’t really bought into that camp. The 12 year old annual outturn merits a slightly different narrative, however, in that is batch-released and maybe isn’t targeted for the same sort of consistency the 16 is. Ergo, a bit of a game of chance with each successive release. So be it. The quality is fairly consistently high, if not consistent in exact profile.
This is the most recent of the 12s I’ve tried. Now let’s see if I can’t get my hands on the more recent ones (and maybe a couple older ones too).
Nose: Warm rubber. Dry earth. Wet smoke. Oily vanilla. Red, black and green ju-jubes. Citrus. Brine. A whiff of red berries. A touch of orange zest. Key lime pie. An over-torched crème brulee.
Palate: Over-toasted notes. Salt licorice. Oversteeped Lapsang Souchong tea. Fisherman’s Friend cough drops. Boiled greens. Lemon. Rather herbaceous as it develops. Granny Smith apple skins. Cinnamon-flavoured tooth picks. Earthy peat and waves of smoke go without saying.
Thoughts: Juicier than expected. Multi-dimensional. Nice smashing together of fruit and phenols.
– Image and words: Curt
I picked this up at the KGBO in 2017 (traded a gifted glenfiddich 18 (bought at Costco in Calgary for <$120) + $3.50 for a $160 bottle in Ontario) and I continue to enjoy it.
I was back in Calgary at Wine, Spirits and beyond in December and it was on-sale for $120. I didn't buy it, and by the time I came back to get it for a friend it was either gone or the sale was ended.
This was my highest scoring of the three I've reviewed on Connosr, but I didn't try it H2H with the 2011. I found the 2013 a little less exciting (H2H). My least favourite so far was the 2014.
IMHO, very few malts come close to the balance and complexity of this malt at what use to be a favourable price point. The 2012 and 2014 where the only releases I had a chance to try through the generosity of a friend and they were absolutely fantastic!! Such a beautiful malt! One of the rare malts I can honestly sai if I had a bottle would be finished in a week or two. Good to see some recent reviews coming out, Curt!!
One of the best malts I’ve picked up in the last while! I definitely grabbed a bottle during the sale David was referring to…
I have heard great things about most of the releases. Great review, Curt.