It's always a pleasure when a younger whisky outstrides its older brothers. The Longrow C.V. jumps to mind as a whisky that outshines all but the glorious 18 year old Longrow. I think younger whiskies have a vibrancy about them that is as desirable in a whisky as the rounding of old age. Furthermore it is important that younger whisky is held in as deep regard as older whisky because it offers a more affordable and often more exciting product than highly aged whisky. The distilleries at Kilchoman and Kilkerran are setting benchmark for young whiskies that can do this. Both offer complexity in youth that many whiskies struggle to achieve in old age. This is why the Lagavulin 12 year old is one of my winners of the Diageo Special Release class of 2011. It has so much more going on than the 16 year old and has none of the failings of the Distiller's Edition. It is a perfectly balanced smoky dram.
57.5% - Refill American Oak Casks
Nose: There is a classic peatiness immediately present that promises a satisfying drink. Next there are hay fields, fresh citris notes and raspberry with a touch of mincemeat. There is also a leathery quality that gives this malt a robustness I enjoy in a whisky.
Palate: Raspberry cut with herbs and sweet meat smoked over a wood fire.
Finish: Those leathery notes return couples with olive oil and great length. Smoke stays until the end with a minerally character.
Overall: Such a drinkable dram (like the Caol Ila Unpeated 12 Year Old) I could drink this all night. There is excellent balance of smoke and other intrinsic flavours. Fantastic at cask strength, Lagavulin should be proud of this one!