Lagavulin 12yo (2014 special release) (54.4%): Yeah, I treated myself with a few new bottles this week... First one on the table is one of the (only) two affordable bottles of this year's Diageo Special Releases line-up the other one being the 15yo unpeated Caol Ila. It is the 13th edition of the twelve year old Lagavulin and vatted from re-fill American oak casks filled in 2001 and 2002. 31,428 bottles have been made available worldwide and bottled at cask strength. As you can tell from my reviews from last two years I am getting more and more obsessed with whiskies matured exclusively in ex-bourbon barrels; I always like Islay whisky in their early teens (sometime even younger) and on top of everything I absolutely love Lagavulin... Cannot wait to start, what can possibly go wrong? Color: Very pale yellow, pinot grigio. Nose: Oh, yeah... The smell you get when you open a new spool of high gauge cable. Sweet moist peat, dried lime zest and sour Granny Smith apples. A windy early morning walk on the beach: Cold ocean spray, wet sand and wet seaweed. Adding water brings sweet oyster brine, well water, anesthetic spray (the kind dentists use) and ripe blackberries. Salted olive oil, metal cutting oil and pipe tobacco. Palate: Hot ashes, chalky soot and smoked herring. With water it gets fruity: cold pear compote, strawberry jam and tart quince slices. Fresh thyme, beef stew and rosemary. Finish: Medium long with grilled banana peppers, ashtray in the morning, chipotle and burnt lemon zest. Overall: Well, everything I was hoping for... A truly old fashioned, straight forward and honest whisky making. It is raw, dusty and vibrant. I simply cannot imagine how anybody wouldn't like this dram. For my two cents it is how an Islay beast should taste like in the beginning anyway. I have to say that I am so glad that it is not a sample bottle but a full one. Winters last pretty long around here.