Diageo has been dropping 12 year old cask strength versions of Lagavulin for as long as I can remember, and nothing much has changed this year — it’s still aged in refill bourbon barrels — except that 2020’s release is available in the U.S., unlike the 2019 edition.
Don’t come looking for a lot of surprises here; year after year Lagavulin 12 is easily the most reliable whisky in the Special Releases series, and fans of the distillery know what they’re getting in to. Here: A nose of briny, ashy forest fires, tinged just so with a note of flamed orange peel.
The palate does feel on the sweet side for Lagavulin, its gentle orange and apricot notes dusted with hints of charcoal soot. A touch of honey on the finish gives the fade-out some brightness, but it remains altogether familiar on the whole.