Lagavulin – Lg10 – Elements of Islay

What was the occasion: A heavy end of year tasting. There were breaks, not just in my leg! That’s a joke because I had broken my leg before this and did it in a lot of pain.

We’ve started to hit the peated whiskies now, meaning the average Scotch drinker actually cares now, so rev yourselves up, type “p” in the search bar and get out the tissues, we’re going in dry.

What whisky did we review? Lagavulin – Lg10 – Elements of Islay a Lagavulin that wasn’t named Lagavulin from Elixir Distillers (told you they’d come up again during this tasting) in their Elements of Islay line. The idea behind it is it treats different distilleries and offerings like they are elements on the periodic table.

This particular release is actually a 3-cask 12-year-old vatting from Lagavulin that were all aged in ex-bourbon barrels. Normally I’d mention the vintage and any changes, but it’s Lagavulin and from what I’ve had over the years, they stay very consistent.

What’s the distillery? It’s Lagavulin. I mean, I get it, the new format is a way to springboard myself back into writing again, but… The distillery was on Parks & Recreation and is attached to a character that’s beloved by most people in America.

Ok, ok, I’ll do it. I just feel it’s a tad silly.

Lagavulin is an Islay distillery owned by Diageo that’s arguably the most well known Islay distillery with its pop culture ties. That said, the amount of official releases that one sees in a year from the distillery are few in comparison to other distilleries, and typically independent bottlers take the option to call any spirit they buy from Lagavulin as an “Islay”.

What’s my bias? I’m a fan, not going to lie. Which is in a weird place. Because you have whisky fans that love Lagavulin, whisky nerds that feel that’s the equivalent of liking metal for Metallica (thus they must hate it), and then some who wonder genuinely if it’s over hyped.

So I’m a whisky fan that’s had the time to look back on old reviews of Lagavulin 16 and 12 CS where I gush about them and realise… yeah, I really do enjoy it. The standard 16 is my go-to at whisky starved bars where I live, which is 99.9% of them (not hyperbole).

But with fewer IBs, few releases, and all the hype of Ron Swanson, was this a good pick for a year end tasting? Let’s see, shall we?

Price: €80 (for a 500ml bottle)

Region: Islay

Vintage: 2007

Bottled: 2019

Age: 12-years-old

Cask types: 3 ex-Bourbon Barrels

Number of bottles 986

Abv: 57.4%

Colour: 7.5Y 9/6

Nose: Brine, candied bacon, rich vanilla, anise, cinnamon

Yeah. It’s a Lagavulin. Wrap it up folks, reviews done!

Ignoring that…

Some salt, more sweet, nice strong vanilla note, and lots of spice, with anise being the main flavour after time goes on. Granted anise does stand out when it’s not balanced as well, so that’s not a surprise.

Added bias comment: I like black licorice. Not in a weird sex way, but in a like the taste of it way, just to be clear. You freaks.

Taste: Grain, brine, banana runts, bacon

Starts out a bit rough, not going to lie, but then takes on bacon and banana runts, which I gotta try at some point.

Is it much better than the taste on an average Lagavulin? Debatable. Am I still loving these flavours and am going to have bacon sandwiches for lunch due to writing this? Assuming my wife doesn’t eat the rest of the bacon, yes.

Finish: Black licorice, salt, cloves, fresh bread

More Anise and salt, from a Lagavulin? Shock, I’m shocked (this is sarcasm).

The rough grain has converted to a better, yeasty, fresh tasting bread flavour. And if you know anything about me, I crave bread to fuel my day to day life and generally 30% of my total joy.

Anise is the main flavour here, so if that’s not your thing, this may be a skip.

Conclusion: An anise forward Lagavulin. It’s Lagavulin. There’s bacon, which means smoke and salt and spices, there’s some grain that gets better, and pops of fruit. The nose is my favourite part.

Would I hunt this down again over a standard 12 Cask Strength release? Hard to say. Maybe adding in a sherry cask could have added additional complexity. Am I sad I bought it and shared it? No, I like anise and peated whiskies. I really liked this dram. It’s interesting to have someone like Elixir purchase and release a vatting or make a vatting and release something different than Diageo.

If you don’t like anise, this is a skip. If you like Lagavulin, it’s another Lagavulin to enjoy.


Scotch review #1619, Islay review #423, Whisky Network review #2347

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