Top 20 Whiskies of 2017

#4 • Lagavulin 12 year old (Diageo Special Releases 2017)

  • Rank: 4
  • Year: 2017
  • Score: 94
  • Price: $130
  • ABV: 56.5%
  • Style: Single Malt
  • Place of Origin: Scotland (Islay)

Conventional wisdom suggests that Lagavulin is at its peak at 16 years of age. However, this superlative 12 year old confirms why many consumers like their Lagavulin younger. This is Lagavulin at its very best: bold, yet complex and satisfying; full of character, with smoky, savory, maritime, sweet vanilla, and fruit notes all merging into a balanced and eminently drinkable whole. It takes a few drops of water well, releasing burnt grass aromas and more palate sweetness. The Diageo Special Releases are not known to be bargains, but this Lagavulin is sensibly priced, and the greatest all-around value from the 2017 lineup. —Gavin Smith