Lagavulin 12 CS, 2020 Release

And here to close out Lagavulin 12 CS week here is the most recent release, from 2020 (see here for the 2019 and here for the 2018 release). I thought the 2018 was excellent and the 2019 just a little behind that. Where will the 2020 fall? Let’s see.

Lagavulin 12 CS, 2020 Release (56.4%; from a bottle split)

Nose: Closer to the 2018 than the 2019: lemon, carbolic peat, salt smouldering leaves; the sweeter notes on the 2019 are not present—at least not at first. The salt expands as it sits—more brine now than salt and some cracked white pepper to go with it. The nose really gets quite lovely with air as some cracked spices (coriander) join the party along with some Springbank’ish burlap and earth and a touch of some muskier fruit (charred pineapple). With more time still there are some meaty notes as well (ham). Okay, time to add water. A few drops brighten it up, pulling out citronella and more of the pineapple—plus is that a bit of peach?

Palate: Comes in more or less as predicted by the nose but with the pepper more to the fore. Sweeter as I swallow. Thick, oily texture and very approachable at full strength. Gets more phenolic with every sip and there’s notes of graphite and carbon paper and ink now. With more time that meaty note from the nose turns to charred, oily fish on the palate (mackerel grilled over coals).

Finish: Long. Dark phenolic smoke getting more tarry/bitter; some seashells in there too and then the ink from the palate comes through again.

Comments: I’ve read reports of this being sweeter than the 2019 release but I did not find it to be so. What is certain is that I found it to be excellent—the nose in particular is just great and the palate not too far behind. If I had to quibble I’d say that the finish is lacking development. However, it’s also only 12 years old. Hmmm in a comment on the 2018 release earlier in the week I’d said I couldn’t justify the high price being asked for the it despite the 90 points I scored it. But now I’m wondering if the better question is not whether $140 (or whatever) is not a reasonable price for a 91 point whisky. Yes, I liked this one the most of the three.

Rating: 91 points.


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