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Island of Islay Lagavulin Distillery Scotland

Lagavulin 12yo Special Release 2020

Review of Lagavulin in the limited edition of 2020.

Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Gradation: 56.4%ABV
Ageing barrels: Ex-Bourbon hogshead refill
Chillfiltered: No
Added coloring: No
Owner: Diageo
Average price: € 120.00
Official website: www.malts.com
Vote: 89/100

Maybe it’s just me, but since Diageo’s annual Special Releases were given a graphic makeover last year with the ‘Rare By Nature’ series, the attention paid to the bottlings that are part of them has grown considerably.
Probably also due to the pandemic, which prevented a widespread presentation of this year’s releases, this attention seems to me to have been even greater, thanks also to some very special bottles.

This is the list of this year’s bottlings:
CARDHU 11YO: virgin casks, first fill and refill, 56%ABV;
CRAGGANMORE 20YO: refill and recharred casks, 55.8%ABV;
DALWHINNIE 30YO: hogshead refill, 51.9%ABV;
LAGAVULIN 12YO: American refill casks, 56.4%ABV;
MORTLACH 21YO: finished in ex-PX and Sherry Oloroso casks, 56.9%ABV;
PITTYVAICH 30YO: ex-Bourbon first fill casks, 50.8%ABV;
TALISKER 8YO: finished in ex-Rum casks, 57.9%ABV;
THE SINGLETON OF DUFFTOWN 17YO: American hogshead refill casks, 55.1%ABV.

Straw yellow, like white wine, in the glass.
The nose has a pronounced savouriness that blends with the sweeter, peaty aspect of the distillate in a meeting of apple vinegar, vanilla, unripe banana, nut bread and sugar icing. Slight herbaceous touch in the background with a drop of honey. The toasted peat appears distant, a puff of smoke wafting through the aromas.
Chilli, cloves and ginger drift across the palate, thrown on the embers of the bonfire by handfuls, and as the smoke clears, more accepting notes of malt, tropical fruit (pineapple, mango), apples, orange juice, chocolate chips emerge. There’s also a woody note, from wet leaves and moss, like walking through the trees in autumn. The aromas intersect and alternate, without overpowering one another, in a rich and complex balance of sweetness and warmth, spice and saltiness. Note of pipe tobacco.
The finish is long and chewy, savoury, spicy, ashy.

A complex, atypical Lagavulin that plays on the balance between various levels without smearing, perhaps less promising on the nose but with a dram that involves and entertains, which is all you can ask of a good whisky and, above all, of a special edition.

Other bottlings in the blog:
Lagavulin 8yo Limited Edition
Lagavulin 9yo Game of Thrones – House Lannister
Lagavulin 10yo 2019
Lagavulin 11yo Offerman Edition
Lagavulin 12yo Limited Release 2018
Lagavulin 12yo Special Release 2019
Lagavulin 16yo
Lagavulin Distillers Edition 2019

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