Lagavulin 12-year-old

Overall rating
Single Malt
Distillery Bottling
Bottling serie
Diageo Special Releases 2019
Stated Age
12 years old
American Hogsheads
Number of bottles
56.5 % Vol.
700 ml
Added on
06 Oct 2019 9:48 am by maltaholic
Cask Strength

Average value

€ 120,70

108 × in wishlist

159 × member ratings

667 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Lagavulin 12-year-old

23 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 88.24 points

  1. hs305 scored this whisky 92 points Connoisseur

    [November, 2019] I liked both the Cragganmore (WB id 140081) and Glen Ord (WB id 137304) out of this year's Diageo Special Releases very much with 90 points each - so will the Lagavulin be of (at least) equal quality? I have to check...

    ...and it seems as if Diageo really improved the quality of its special releases after all the chequered ones of the last years. This is one of the cleanest, impressive and to-the-point Lagavulin I had for years. All, really all is perfect and in balance with beautiful malty, peaty and wooden flavours that are delicious. I have to admit, this is really great stuff and it confirms that 12 years is most probably the perfect maturation age for Lagavulin. Hey Diageo, I forgive you all your shaky releases of the last years not just for this Lagavulin but for the Glen Ord and Cragganmore too.

    [December, 2019] Something strange seems to happen with the scores of this release as there are dozens of low scores (82-points) all from newbie WB members all from Singapore. Not sure what the reason is for that - but I am sure it does not work...
    • Nose
      92 92
      The colour is pale gold and the nose is very shy first (for a Lagavulin). But after some breathing it nicely opens up and offers a clean and "stripped-off any non-spirit effects" Lagavulin profile which is great if you like this. All others might find this (possibly) unimpressive but they should add some water to unleash the beast! Hey, are you now satisfied? I am! The maritime-medicinal peaty aromas are flabbergasting, the malt provides a fine sweet backing and the wood structures everything in a perfect way. This nose cries for water and rewards it accordingly.
    • Taste
      93 93
      Oooh - this taste reminds me of my beloved 12-years old Lagavulin from 1988 (WB id 4437) that I scored 94 points. It is of (almost) equal quality - absolutely clean, fresh and very complex for a 12-years old. I do not name all the different flavours here because other members do that better than I but I can assure everybody - this is Lagavulin at its best. A perfect cask selection, Pinky (or whoever did this)!
    • Finish
      92 92
      The dram arrives warming and instantly coating on the palate without any distracting moments. The finish is long (what else?) and adds even more of the delicious peaty and malty flavours without any distracting moments at all. It literally sticks to my tongue and throat forever, triple wow! Water releases all the fine aromas in the nose too and turns the taste extremely dangerous (quaffable) - it is hard to stop drinking this delicious stuff...

  2. markjedi1 scored this whisky 89 points Connoisseur


    This old faithful release is a fan favourite. Just look at the number of bottles released. With 60.762 bottles worldwide this is clearly a wanted one. No surprise. The Laga’s from the Special Releases have always been great and this will be no exception, I’m sure. The only downside – from a collector’s point of view – might be the packaging that is quite at odds with previous releases, because of the ‘Rare by Nature’ theme. Oh, well. I’m more interested in the liquid.

    Bang! Bull’s eye from the get-go. Textbook Lagavulin, but with balls. Carbolic soap, mouthwash, pine cones, peat in a straightjacket. At the same time some wet moss, green peppers and ship’s rope. This is chiseled.

    On the palate, it is fatty and immediately surprisingly sweet. Sure, the typical characteristics are there: lemon, salted caramel, a mackerel on the BBQ, charcoal; but I am pleasantly surprised by the sweet notes of apricots, banana, pears and lime juice. Tobacco leaves. Grand and warming.

    The finish is very, very long, smoky and again surprisingly sweet.

    The nay-sayers will be baffled with this surprisingly sweet Lagavulin – Sweetavulin! – once they have tried it. Recommended.

  3. Caoldronach scored this whisky 92 points Expert Senior

    Again excellent.
    Maybe not quite as good as the outstanding 200y anniversary release from 2016 (ABV 57.7%) because that one seems to me to be a bit more complex.
    But as I said, also excellent. Maybe even on par (difficult to decide).

    But one major complaint: The new design!
    The classic Lagavulin design is (was) excellent, the new one is the new "Walt Disney" kind of design like this "Game of Thrones" bulls**t.
    I understand Diageo's marketing idea behind this, but for the distillery enthusiast (not the overall group company Diageo enthusiast) this is bad.
    The new design is certainly cheaper in production, as there is a standard bottle without glass relief (1816, ISLA) and a single standard label.

    But, WOW, it is wonderfully colourful ;-))))).
    "Walt Disney @ Lagavulin".
    No thanks

  4. Archer scored this whisky 90 points Connoisseur

    A classic from Islay's south coast. If it were not for the Laphroaig 10 CS, then it would be THE classic ... ;-)
    Undoubtedly again a great bass strong Lagavulin. A little different every year, but always branded the 12 CS DNA.
    • Nose
      90 90
      For a long time I had no 12 CS in the glass - what I was looking forward to the nose: and was (once again) not disappointed. Baked bananas, roasted orange slices, seaweed, peat smoke, sea breeze, machine oil - everything is there. It seems a little reserved, not intrusive, but delivers everything you expect in your nose. And just this restraint makes him very interesting and pleasing in the nose. Caramel sweets, fudge.
    • Taste
      91 91
      On the tongue, he then immediately drops all envelopes. Enormously smoky appetizer, but at the same time delicious fruit notes of crushed bananas, lime slices and orange peel. Dry. Spicy herbs, raisins, bacon strips, the warm, almost overheated engine room of a fishing boat. Kelp, clear sea associations.
    • Finish
      90 90
      Medium to long finish, dry, fruity (almost sweet), cool, intense smoky.

  5. ARDBERG scored this whisky 91 points Connoisseur

    best laga 12 yo in a loooooong time. Quaffable!

    2+2cl sample
    • Nose
      90 90
    • Taste
      91 91
    • Finish
      92 92

  6. Whisky Hamster scored this whisky 89 points Member Senior

    This year's Lag is surely (again?) a bit different from previous years' special releases, but with time and air it really grows on you and the intrinsic quality of the 12 cs over the years is quite consistently high in my eyes. Scoring one over the other seems more a question of personal preferrence, really. I mean if you don't like smoke and cask strength or bourbon casks at all, just don't drink it. ;-) I wonder though what's up with all these many newbies rating it down. Russian spam bots? Is there money to be made somehow? Weird.

  7. nhuber did not rate this whisky Expert Senior

    Oh wow... Was the star in a Diageo Tasting with Thomas Plaue (German brand ambassador). Liked it a lot... Gets drier and sweeter with water..... Very good but older ones were even better

  8. Simo scored this whisky 89 points Expert Senior

    • Nose
      87 87
    • Taste
      89 89
    • Finish
      90 90

  9. Robinzon25 scored this whisky 87 points Expert Senior

    Whisky is clear, not complicated, but extremely tasty.
    • Nose
      Decorate the shades of an extinct fire, lingonberries, black currants and of course the shades of the sea.
    • Taste
      It contains a large amount of phenols, salt, iodine and pepper.
    • Finish
      Long, energetic, very smoked, spicy, with hints of salt, iodine and algae. In the end I feel shy tannins.

  10. smoked_herring scored this whisky 82 points Member Senior

    Tasted at a Diageo-led tasting in Toronto about a week ago.

    Colour: Pale Lemon

    Nose: Very briney and surprisingly light medicinal peat, then some dry lemons, orange oils, fresh apples, black tea and white pepper

    Palate: Big white pepper and juicy lemons along with brown sugar, baking spices, white pepper, dried ginger, pastry bread and a bit of oak tannin

    Finish: Medium with lemon oils, oak tannins and baked bread

    A big letdown coming from the stellar 2017 and 2016 releases. It doesn't really have the brine and oil that the nose offers, if anything it feels very weaksauce much like the Feis Ile 2019 was. It's still a great whisky but for $20 more then what the last vintages were it's not even close to that price point for me. The Talisker and Cragganmore from last year are much more worth the money in my opinion.


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