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

€ 120.10

112 × in wishlist

119 × member ratings

578 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Lagavulin 12-year-old

18 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 88.71 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. matts scored this whisky 92 points Connoisseur

    Character: straight, remarkably sweet and pure barbeque. From the peat smoke on the border to a port-strong Port Charlotte and with a view to the sweet smoked bacon not unlike the one or the other Ardbeg. The word complex I do not take in the mouth here. But it does not need it either. The 2019 is for the campfire. The 2016er for the clear starry sky. Both blessings prepare me; the starry sky is the enjoyable conclusion.
    Rating: The 12er Lagavulins are so dear to my heart, that I do not differentiate punctually exceptionally. All batches are for me so far top class. I have my favorite: the 2016er. But so bad I find the look and bottle of the 2019 bottling (please never again Diageo!): This is once again a really great bottling and who comes home in the evening and would like to be within seconds in a delightful barbecue on the beach in Islay who once had this filling in the glass. Simply great and of me there are in the overall view as usual the obligatory 92 points.
    • Nose
      Right away, there are malt and cereal notes closely woven with peat smoke. Beautifully balanced and despite the high cask strength without even a tiny little stinging in the nose. It does not take long until the pronounced maritime character comes through. The smell is less of a fresh sea breeze than seaweed, algae and a good dose of iodine. The latter, however, not from the category hospital. All in all, a note of slightly sweet smoked bacon permanently resonates with it. This basic texture really knows how to please. In the background green apples and subtle mint and some thyme bring a beautiful herbal freshness into play. The longer I smell the glass, the more often soft toffee flashes through. A teaspoon of water on 2cl per se enhances very round, soft and harmonious impression yet. Compared to the 2017er this bottling comparatively hardly citrus flavors and besides, it is as good as vanilla free. Compared to my favorite from 2016, the peat smoke is more succinct. He almost goes in the direction of a Port Charlotte in cask strength for me. The 2016, in turn, comes up with more fruit flavors, is more subtle from peat smoke and leaves in immediate comparison an even more elegant overall impression. The 2019 is somehow more direct, the 2016er more complex. From the nose, both bottlings are absolutely great, but the 2016er is a nose for me ahead. Arbitrary and replaceable would be way too hard, but the 2019 is missing this mysterious something, which inspires me on the 2016er again and again.
    • Taste
      Extremely intense and comparatively clear, the drop hits the tip of the tongue. Peat smoke and malt are closely interwoven in terms of taste and very straightforward. The smoke is reminiscent of charcoal smoldering to ashes. The sweet smoked ham comes through again. At least now, the idea of a barbecue burns in my brain. However, right on the beach, because also taste of maritime iodine and algae repeatedly come through. This all fits together really well, especially since malt and grain are really bold and act as a binder between the coast and the campfire. Although I am far from grasping them individually, bright fruits are moving in the background. The 2016er is already slightly different in mouthfeel. He is much gentler and creamier. Its intense but no less elegant peat characteristics make the 2019 appear almost as a BBQ roughneck. The 2016 does not immediately remind me of smoked bacon, is more fruity and, unlike the 2019, is slightly buttery; say something vanilla is subliminal also in the game. He also looks a bit fresher on the maritime side: he delivers a stronger sea breeze and has noticeably less iodine. In the point of complexity and cast a spell, the 2016er clears off completely. The 2019, in turn, provides a straightforward, wind-free picture-book barbecue on the iodine-rich and sea-rich Islay coast. The 2019er quenches my wild hunger; the 2016er ripples my thoughts saturated and enjoyable the space and the time. As much as the former is necessary, so much is my icing on the cake here too. Both at an enormously high level. These 12 year old Lagas just grab and touch me again and again.
    • Finish
      The finish is long and a martini barbeque dream. Pure campfire, sweetish smoked ham, iodine and algae. Intensive, fat, long-lasting and warming. The whole mouth is filled and the delicious aftertaste acts like a force of nature forever. I long for the right guitar music around the campfire. Together with a bottle of this bottling, bliss would be perfect for an evening out. Give me the 2016er and the evening would be unforgettable for a lifetime. The next morning for the coming weeks, however, too.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  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. 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.

  8. 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

  9. whiskycuse did not rate this whisky Expert Senior

    As every year a reliable candidate for a very good malt. This time maybe a bit drier and more wood-influenced than in previous years.


  10. A0525 scored this whisky 88 points Expert Senior

    • Nose
      88 88
    • Taste
      87 87
    • Finish
      88 88


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