Posted on Saturday, Jan 5, 2013 at 03:40 PM
One well-known Alsatian whisky blogger recently pointed out that comparing the new Lagavulin 21 "...with the older 21 is any whisky blogger's favorite sport these days." Count us in! We'd been waiting to get our hands on the new 21, and when we did it was finally time for our long-anticipated Lagavulin Vertical.
For a baseline, we started with a "White Horse" 16yo that dates to around 1990. We compared that to a 2012 16yo, and the general consensus was that the circa 1990 is more enjoyable, with a "dirtier" or "earthier" quality than the current version, which is sharper with a more peppery bite. (We did consider that 20+ years in glass might have mellowed out the White Horse a bit).
Then we went in reverse, from the 30 on down, figuring that we should hit the bottlings with subtler flavors (well, for Lagavulin) first. So the lineup in order was:
...and we also tasted through various other 12's, 16's, DE's, and a 2010 Distillery Only.
The winner of the meeting was definitely the 2007 21yo, with it's "perverse complexity" standing head and shoulders above all others, including the current 21yo. And, the 25yo was unanimously preferred by all 15 tasters to the 30yo.