LAGAVULIN 12 Year Old 2007 (Special Release 2020)
LAGAVULIN 12 Year Old 2007 (Special Release 2020). The final survivor of the old guard – the only whisky to appear every year since the first ‘proper’ Special Releases in 2002. It varies from year to year, but is very much the go-to dram of the range, with it often not really being seen as part of the line-up, but more of a special release (no capital letters) of its own.
Last year’s edition was smokier than usual, and as a contrast Craig Wilson has leant on the same character that you may have noticed in many of the releases above: sweetness. It’s all matured in refill American oak – both hogsheads and butts – so there’s almost certainly refill sherry casks in here. This Lagavulin has been matured in traditional refill American oak casks selected to give a perfect expression of distillery character. Soaring in taste and intensity, the flavour is powerful and assertive yet subtly sweet.
Lagavulin’s core expression here in the US is the 16 year old (which my fellow New Yorkers can get for the absolute rock-bottom price of $50 per bottle at Warehouse Wine and Liquor), but I was able to get some of the harder-to-find 12 year old via Diageo’s Classic Islay Gift Pack. If you are a scotch newbie who finds themselves attracted to a smokey whiskies, the Islay Gift Pack is a must-buy — it’s a super-affordable package that will give you a full liter of excellent (and rare) Islay whisky: 20 cL each of 5 different whiskies.
Overall: This is less rich than the 16 year old (notes on that forthcoming), but the cask strength gives it a nice kick that the lower ABV 16 year old lacks. I know I’ve been less than enthused about some cask strength whiskies lately, but in this case it’s really complimentary and adds an extra dimension to the dram.
Part of the Diageo Special Releases 2020 range, this expression is highly-limited.