I've been anxious to get my hands on this lovely bottle for a while... the elusive UK-only Lagavulin 12yr Cask Strength (56.4% ABV compared to the 16yr 43% ABV). This is actually my first 70cl (compared to the American 750ml) bottle for the UK market. Apparently Diageo's been making a killing selling the ever-popular Lagavulin 16yr and never bothered importing its younger sibling.
Note: I started dating my opened bottles a few months ago to give me an idea of when to finish a bottle before it goes "flat". Also, I didn't already drink that much by myself. You all know I'm generous with my whisky.
A: A light golden yellow. Obviously no additional coloring which is unusual for a Diageo bottling. Adding water did create a little haze which suggests minimal chillfiltering.
N: Sweeter than the 16yr. Perhaps a tad more sherry, but noticeably more rich fruit. Smokey with that touch of sea air Lagavulin is known for, but significantly less ashy than the 16yr. The overall nose is fresher... cleaner. The alcohol sizzles.
T: Neat, arrival is sweet with a sharp fruitiness. Then peat and ash (yet far less than the 16yr). Nutty, spicy, and complex. Finish is long and satisfying with a slight oily mouthfeel.
If tasted blindly, I would have never guessed this was a Lagavulin. It is far too fresh and the Islay characteristics are present, but not overwhelming. If readily available as a 750ml, I may never purchase another bottle of the 16yr again (even if it was priced higher). Amazing whisky.