Lagavulin, Lg2 (58%, Speciality Drinks; from my own bottle)
Nose: Minerally peat and smoke, paraffin. None of the farmy/organic notes I got on the Lg1. Lemon and something coastal–but more like bracing sea air than rotting kelp/seaweed. Wet stones (an aroma I tend to associate with Caol Ila). With time there’s more sweetness, some vanilla, some kind of fruit (melon?)–the salt seems to expand as well. I’m getting something faintly vegetal as well. Gets quite cereally with time. Water makes the fruit expand and brings it closer to the Lg1. And after a lot more time still, the nose does develop a light farmy/organic note.
Palate: Sharp, acrid smoke; quite acidic. (This one needs water, no doubt, but let’s wait a bit.) Some of that paraffin from the nose but none of the lemon or the minerally/stony quality. With a little more time, there’s some salt and a very mild fruitiness, but this will likely sing a more interesting tune with water. Ah yes, with water it’s now much closer to the nose: there’s the stony note, blended nicely with preserved lemon, salt, and some ash. Still rather assertive. After a bit, the acidic/lemony note is still dominant, but there’s something musky in there too.
Finish: Long, smoky (the same sharp smoke as on the palate), getting saltier as it goes. Water doesn’t change the finish a whole lot–maybe makes it a touch sweeter. With or without water, it’s not as endless as the finish of the Lg1.
Comments: An interesting variation on the Lg1. Sharper smoke from the get-go and brighter aromas and flavours on the whole. The alcohol content of this one is not so much higher than of the Lg1 but it does seem more closed on the palate without water. I do think I prefer the Lg1, on the whole–I really like that fish oil quality on the nose of that one. But who knows how I’d feel on another occasion. Both these bottles are now at the halfway mark and will need to be finished relatively soon. Must remember to save samples so I can make some comparisons with my growing collection of the cask strength OB 12’s, whenever it is I will open them. (I assume both the Lg1 and the Lg2 are younger than 12 years old, but they don’t taste so very young. In fact, my highly unreliable taste memory tells me that the last OB 12 cs I had–the 2009 release, I believe–wasn’t any more mature tasting than either of these.) My next Lagavulin tasting will, however, be a lot more decadent: a head to head comparison of the two 21 yo releases–samples of both of which I am very lucky to have on my shelves (one from a swap and one purchased from Whiskybase). But that will have to wait for an evening with no other demands on my time–and so this is probably my last Lagavulin review for a while.
Rating: 87 points.