...but the quality can not keep that pace. Personally I still like the 2019 edition best while this year's release is a little better than last year's. Nevertheless, all three are still on a high quality level making Lagavulin one of the most consistent distilleries of the last decades.
The colour is pale straw and the nose offers the trademark clean Lagavulin profile but it smells a little less mature than my beloved 2019 edition. This is still of high quality without doubts but somehow I miss something - but I can not describe what it is. Maybe this edition is a little too much polished and "streamlined" and this does not change even after a longer breathing time.
The taste offers an unusual but interesting maritime spike with a powerful saltiness, smoked oysters and seaweed in a rich malty-wooden sauce. This is really delicious and very interesting to explore. After some chewing the barley sugars grow stronger and sooth the bitter peaty and wooden flavours which re-establishes a fine balance of flavours. The second dram is even better than the first was, so be generous and reward yourself with a rather bigger measure when tasting this beauty!
The initial mouthfeel is a little hot (due to the high abv) which quickly dissolves into a warming and nicely coating texture without distracting moments. The finish is long and adds more maritime-peaty impressions beside cold bonfire ashes (imagine an extinguished peat-fired BBQ at the shores of Islay). Some water turns both nose and taste more punchy (alcoholic) and releases a tasty chocolatey note during the finish. A bigger reduction takes the punchiness away again and releases the maritime impressions in the nose too (great!) while the taste smooths and turns even more quaffable. I like to explore this dram neat first but then I prefer to saviour it at a reduced level of about 46% abv.