...and it is completely different to both batch 10 and 11 but in a great way. They added a significantly higher share of sherry casks to this batch which made both nose and taste more impressive and powerful. It is not as complex and balanced as batch 11 but it is at eye-level in terms of quaffability and enjoyment (again, forget the simple wood-driven batch 10). I suggest to own both batch 11 and 12 and drink them side-by-side (when in the mood for such a setting) - this is a lot of fun and it provides the best what pre-Beam Laphroaig has to offer. Slainte!
The colour of chestnutoloroso sherry is significantly darker than both batch 11 and batch 10 (which are almost the same at burnished, maybe 11 is a notch darker than 10). So obviously there is a higher share of sherry casks in this batch which is promising. The nose is more powerful too with stronger wine-driven aromas beside the peat and wood which strengthen the other flavours too, it seems. Compared to this batch 10 smells rather simple with too much wooden notes while batch 11 is nicely balanced and leaves more space for the malt-driven aromas to enfold. I like both batch 11 and 12 with 11 being more delicate and 12 more powerful.
The taste is clearly driven by the peat and the sherry on a firm but never dominating wooden backbone. The malt is a junior partner in this setting only but it is detectable, still. To be honest, I like this setting even if it is not perfectly balanced. Instead it is powerful and very impressive - it reminds me of the very first (and best) PX batch but with more power due its higher abv. No, it is not layered but the mix of flavours is delicious as it is. Batch 10 is completely unimpressive compared to that with just bitter peaty and wooden flavours in an unbalanced setting. Batch 11 is more complex and layered with a close-to-perfection harmony of malt, peat, sherry and wood. I like it a little better than batch 12 but both are very different on the palate and in terms of quaffability they are on par (for different reasons).
This dram arrives powerful on the palate with a creamy and warming texture that covers all of the mouth instantly. There are some hot moments (no wonder at 60.1% abv) but they are not distracting at all. The finish is long and adds more chocolatey notes and impressions of cold bonfire ashes at the sea shore. No bitter or drying moments, all stays tasty and enjoyable. The finish of batch 10 is shorter and adds no new impressions, unfortunately. Batch 11 keeps its nice taste throughout the finish with some additional chocolatey notes (which are not as bold as with batch 12) and spices. I go for another draw of batch 11 and 12 (batch 10 is much weaker, again). Some water turns this dram punchier what happens often with such powerful whiskies while a further reduction smoothes it but it takes away the untamed power too. I like batch 12 best when neat, despite its 60.1% abv.