Islay region – 57.1%ABV – cask strength – 750ml bottle – $55 | £58 | €68
The first whisky to ever hook me was the Lagavulin 16yr — and I have to say, all of the regulars in The Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society adore the Lagavulin 16yr; such a lovely dram. It reminded me of the first time I went camping with my father (25+ years ago, I was 11 or so) we had a warm campfire and were cooking baked beans in a can over it. This was the first night I ever saw the Milky-way without the obstruction of city/town lights – wondrous! We just hung out and watched the fire die to glowing embers & fell asleep. That’s the feel of the Lagavulin 16 for me.
This 12yr is a little different, not as cozy and a little less natural. This is more like a lazer-light-show version of the Milky-Way, sans Pink Floyd.
Initial whiff — Lemon zest, oak, vanilla, and faint smoke. Salty & spicey, singed hair.
On the mouth — Bam!!! biting smoke, almost effervescent. A little melon perhaps and the smoke returns, oh, now oaky
Finish — Long, peaty, pleasing, seltzer type feel lasts for a while with lingering water doused fire flavor
Here’s where it gets weird – I never do this but, I added a little water because, WTF, right?
BAD IDEA! – Changes are as follows:
Initial whiff — spent rubber bands, burning rubber and a little vanilla, mostly the rubber bands
On the mouth — Mouth feel got real oily, but bad oily. Think bad vegetable oil. The flavor is almost like artificial rubber (isn’t rubber artificial? Imagine a fake version of that – odd!)
Finish — oiliness stays, so does the rubber but smoke comes to the rescue.
In sum — In the end, after water, I wanted to shave my tongue. Blech! Without water – fabulous, with water – shaved tongue.