Lagavulin 12 CS, 2011 Release (57.5%; from my own bottle)
Nose: Very close to the 2010, with lemon, cereally peat and whiffs of gasoline leading the way. Deep inky sweetness below that–iodine and mercurochrome and gauze bandages. Some fruit too–grapefruit? melon?–and sharp, acidic smoke. With more time there’s a leafy, humusy quality and some green olive brine too. The lemon turns to lemon peel and gets more intense; some almond oil too. The cereal never goes away though. Water pushes the lemon back and there’s more of a straight ahead medicinal peat blast now.
Palate: Acrid smoke and lemon do battle, and battle to a draw. Salt after that and then more lemon and then the inky sweetness. More aggressive than the 2010 at full strength. With time the smoke is not as aggressive on initial entry and the (bitter) lemon becomes the top note and the medicinal notes (bandages, iodine) arrive much earlier. Much more phenolic now. Water makes the palate brighter and a bit sweeter–still very phenolic though and the smoke expands again.
Finish: Long. Lemony smoke that turns a little bitter. Gets salty after that and then there’s a huge wave of iodine that swoops in and lingers. Very medicinal. And endless. Gets even longer with water and the bitterness is replaced by a brighter, more acidic note. Some menthol coolness too now.
Comments: Hard to pick between this and the 2010 and I suspect that blind I might have difficulty telling them apart. Still, looking at my notes for the 2010 it does appear I got more fruit on the nose of this 2011 and more fruit on the palate of the 2010. The finish is more intense here. Still, I think I preferred the palate of the 2010 and so I’m going to say it’s a draw. But it’s like Brazil and Spain played to a 3-3 draw. Everybody won. Okay, only one left in my Lagavulin 12 CS series: look for a review of the 2012 edition next week.
Rating: 90 points.