A 12 year old version of Lagavulin is invariably a part of the Diageo Special Releases, though this one isn’t going to be available in the U.S.
There are no big surprises in this release, aged in refill bourbon barrels, and that’s probably for the best. The nose is heavy on the smoke, the usual base of the whisky, with notes of wood and coal fires — no sweet barbecue notes to speak of. A slight seaweed note is detectable, but otherwise there’s minimal brine/saline.
Push through the smoke on the palate and you’ll find a sharp fruit character, with some toasted hazelnuts in the mix, too. The palate is sharply smoky, of course, leading to a rather ashy, dusty finish. Peat and chimney soot notes linger as the fruit slowly fades away.
All told, it drinks largely as expected. Lagavulin superfans can plan accordingly.
113 proof. Not available in the U.S.
B+ / £110 / malts.com