Lagavulin 12 Year Old (2023)

Lagavulin 12 Year Old (2023)

The 12 year old Lagavulin is a classic among the Special Releases. I would call it one of the most reliable expressions too, rarely disappointing. That said, this year’s edition received an extra finish in Don Julio Añejo tequila casks. Like Lagavulin, Diageo owns the Don Julio brand.

As you may know, tequila is not exactly my favourite cask type when it comes to whisky finishing.


Lagavulin 12 yo (56,4%, OB Special Releases 2023, Don Julio Añejo tequila casks)

Nose: quite citrusy, alongside maritime notes and some of the pickled gherkins that I also picked up in the Lagavulin Mezcal cask. A vegetal style of peat, with some charred bell pepper and a sweet hint of agave. Then dried herbs, limestone and smouldering bonfire. A bit more funky and meaty than a classic Laga, I’d say.

Mouth: quite peppery and sharp, with a boozy and almost chemical edge. Mossy notes, salted peanuts, some seaweed. Then pickle sharpness, brine, citrus zest, agave again and herbal smoke. Seems a little younger than it is. There’s a sweetness in the background (limoncello maybe) but it doesn’t quite come together in my opinion.

Finish: long, with more vegetal peat, a creamy note, salt and peppery ash.

The tequila seems to bring out the youth and doesn’t work as nicely as mezcal in my opinion. I’m not convinced by the frankly boozy character, let alone the significant price hike – now somewhere between € 150 and € 210. In my opinion it makes this year’s 12 one of Lagavulin’s weakest propositions of the past few years. Available from The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt among others.

Just so you know, this is it – I won’t be reviewing other Special Releases this year.