Lagavulin Line-up: 8yr, 12CS & 16yr

I’ve had a few drams from Lagavulin over the years but hadn’t yet posted any to the website, so figured why not aggregate them into one post. The timing on these varied greatly, as has my scoring, but I’m gonna leave my notes and scores as-is.


In June 2016, I had the chance to travel to Islay with my wife and we visited a few distilleries of course! At Lagavulin they were short staffed and wouldn’t let us go to where the distillery name is on the wall near the sea… (but I still got a picture there as I was a little tipsy and decided to go through a gate and run through the distillery to find it. I have a selfie with it as well … good times.) This is the 8yr anniversary bottling.

Lagavulin 8 – 48% ABVlaga8

  • Appearance: Pale yellow straw. Def uncoloured.
  • Nose: Peat, apple, medicinal peat, slight smoke.
  • Palate: Ashy smoke, campfire, boggy peat, oily mouthfeel, some fruity notes. Agave, apple blossom. Tastes young but quite nice still.
  • Finish: Medium length, smoky, ashy.
  • Overall: good potential but tastes quite young and more ashy than I tend to like.

Score: 85/100


Storied scotch of Swanson, and a common cited favourite… I took these notes a while back when having a dram at my uncle’s place.

Lagavulin 16 – 42.9% ABVlaga16

  • Appearance: deep golden amber coloured with nice thick legs.
  • Nose: briney iodine and sweet peat. Smokey charcoal, sweet sherry notes.
  • Taste: delicious peaty flavours mixed with sweet sherry and dark fruit. Earthy and woody. Full bodied, oily. Sweetness lingers along with the smoke
  • Finish: long and smokey. The peat just doesn’t go away.
  • Overall: delicious. I really with this wasn’t so damn expensive in Ontario. I’m tempted, but I actually prefer the Laphroaig QC which clocks in $48 bucks cheaper.

Score: 91/100


I got this sample in 2014 from  Reddit user KaptianKrush.

Lagavulin 12 – 56.1% 2012/12th releaselaga12

  • Appearance: very pale yellow straw. Obviously not coloured, just the way I like it.
  • Nose: big wave of peat smoke and some sweet floral notes too. some light fruit. Pretty salty smelling as well.
  • Taste: that is a ton of peat! Glad that didn’t die down over almost a year in a sample bottle! Hot burning smoke. Has a bit of a soapy characteristic in it that’s pretty unique. Smoked meat… but sort of like the bits of steak that stick to the grill and get really charred. Very salty/briney.
  • Finish: long and smoky. Doesn’t really fade much. I might be tasting this all night, and I’m ok with that!
  • Overall: rated this a point lower than the 16 year, but that’s because I reviewed that so long ago, my tastes weren’t as discerning. This is a great dram, but could use a bit more complexity as it’s so utterly dominated by the peat and smoke.

Score: 90/100


I was going to include a review of the Lagavulin 1995 Distiller’s Edition, but sadly, received
it from a co-worker who only had Mason jars for containers, and the whisky was tainted by the container. Hopefully will get a chance to review it sometime again, as that one definitely didn’t get a fair shake.


3 thoughts on “Lagavulin Line-up: 8yr, 12CS & 16yr

  1. These are really great tasting notes, Bryan. I’d really like to try all three Lagavulins that come with an age statement in one sitting. I have had the 16yo quite often, but I only tried the 8yo once. And I never had the 12yo so far. Must be quite something!


  2. A fun comparison indeed! I have recently tried the 8 alongside the 16, and come away with similar comparisons. You do need to get a good Distiller’s Edition, I find the ones I have (1991 & 1993) to be enjoyable Lagavulin expressions.


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