Lagavulin 12-year-old

Overall rating
Whiskybase ID
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
New Label
Bottle code
Added on
06 Oct 2019 9:48 am by maltaholic
Cask Strength

Average value

€ 154.65

162 × in wishlist

514 × member ratings

1758 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Lagavulin 12-year-old

126 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 88.41 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.

    [August, 2021] I re-tasted this dram tonight and fully confirm my review and score. So if you prefer the clean and naked Lagavulin profile this is one of the best releases from this fine distillery (al least for the last ten years), not kidding. Dangerously quaffable and worth every buck (to me) - but do not forget to add a generous splash of water.
    • 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
      91 91
      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. 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.

  4. Caoldronach scored this whisky 94 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

  5. VaryingViewpoint scored this whisky 90 points Photo Moderator

    Dropping my rating from 92 to 90. This does not oxidize well. After 8 weeks of oxidization this has unfortunately flatten-out on the nose, palate and finish quite a bit. I'll relook at this when opening my second bottle in the future, but at this time somewhat disappointing for this to have changed so much within such a short time after opening.:-(

    Might be on of those bottles that need to be Karloffed; drinking the whole bottles within 2-4 weeks.
    • Nose
      90 90
    • Taste
      90 90
    • Finish
      89 89

  6. Calmar scored this whisky 87 points Connoisseur

    The whisky is dense and saturated, but with a rather modest set of derivatives, the depth is also not very impressive, there are no complaints about the rest - juicy, bright, well balanced.
    • Nose
      Open, dry, juicy smoky peat notes, some rubber, lemon peel, sweet pastry shades, custard, ash, stone dust.
    • Taste
      Thick, saturated, sweet-creamy, smoky-peaty, oily, oak, pepper wave, bark, uncoated tablets, ginger.
    • Finish
      Spicy, warming, oak, leather goods, tobacco, soft smoky peat tones, mineral-metal acidity, ginger, smoked meats.

  7. HammerHead scored this whisky 86 points Connoisseur

    Dutch whisky forum blind tasting #11 sample #6:

    Clearly peated, quite a simple but still sturdy experience, also quite young. The cinnamon in the nose gives it a nice twist, but I'd prefer it a little less peppery in taste/finish. Around 55% abv, bourbon cask aged for 8 years maximum. I'm guessing it's Scottish, so probably from Islay. Sample 4 was a peated and young Bunna so this might be a Caol Ila then...

    so this is quite surprising, it turned out to be the lastest of the Laga 12 Cask Strength bottlings, released in the 2019 Diageo special release range. Possibly something has changed in cask selection for this bottling, cause I certainly did not recognize it. It's different than the bottlings of the last few years, tastes younger, dryer, sharper and a bit more vegetal than it used to do.

    Edit: so just to be sure I retasted it and opened up a 2016 cask strength release next to it. Ok, it's actually less sharp than the first time tasting it (probably due to some oxidation in the sample bottle), but still clearly rougher and younger tasting than the 2016 bottling. Despite the slightly lower abv of 56,5 against 57,7% it really starts biting the tongue when swirling it around the mouth, the 2016 remains relatively gentile and round, also fatter (more greasy and buttery). In my book it's no improvement over previous bottlings.
    • Nose
      88 88
      Earthy and fresh peat, light smoke, a grassy note (actually even a little farmy), kippers, sweet and sour, quite clear citrus (mainly lemon and sweeter oranges), vanilla, salted butter, faint toffee, wood spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, also some sawdust.
    • Taste
      85 85
      Taste: smoke (more clear than in the nose), still the fresh peat, greasy, some liquorice, loads of black pepper (actually a bit too much), citrus and vanilla, drying spices of scorched wood.
    • Finish
      85 85
      Long with black liquorice, spicy black and chili peppers, nutmeg and again the cinnamon, ending with a drying note of toasted wood and ash.

  8. gossm01 scored this whisky 90 points Expert Senior

    • Nose
      90 90
      Peaty, salty, caramel, citrus, malty sweet, ripe banana,
    • Taste
      92 92
      Ashy, honey sweetness, caramel
    • Finish
      90 90
      Pleasant, intense and long-lasting

  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. dRambo scored this whisky 87 points Connoisseur

    definitely needs water - without good drinkable but one-dimensional
    • Nose
      87 87
    • Taste
      88 88
    • Finish
      87 87


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