I am very fond of both the Ardbeg 10 and Lagavulin 16, they are my favourite whisky's.
Which would you choose and why (which in your opinion tastes bettter, which is worth more etc etc)
If you want a peaty smoke bomb, then go with the Lagavulin 12.
If you want to discover a more subtle interpretation of Ardbeg, then go with the 17yo.
I too love Ardbeg 10 - my "house whisky" for the past 5 years.
Lagavulin 16 was THE whisky that got me into whisky, 8 years ago.
Over the years my appreciation of whiskies has developed, and a large part of this is the appreciation of cask strength whiskies.
Ardbeg 10 is the perfect "everyday" strength, IMO, 46%.
Ardbeg 17 is a fine whisky, and no doubt thought of wistfully by connoisseurs because it is no longer available. I bought a bottle for this very reason two years ago. Of course I enjoyed it. But I can name 3 or 4 Ardbegs, including the 10, that i rate more highly.
The original Lagavulin 12 is an historic beast, @ 43% ABV, which I have never tried, but which is revered and missed, probably more so than the Ardbeg 17, as it is also no longer produced. So if you have a bottle of this on offer, I would take it over the Ardbeg. But I would probably not open it, rather exchange it for several other whiskies,which it would probably buy, including the CURRENT Lagavulin 12, a cask strength "special release", @ approx 57% ABV, released every year over the last few. I have had three, the current 2007 being delightful.
But it is a different beast than the 16, which has a strong sherry influence. It is more raw, more naked, but ultimately more rewarding than the 16, which is "only" 43%.
"Old" 12 or "new" 12, I would go for the Lagavulin. There are greater Ardbegs available for not a lot of money - the 10, the "Beist" and the Uigeadal at 54%, but for me, in my experience the current Lagavulin 12 is a far more rewarding pour than the \ardbeg 17.
but others may disagree!
The "new" 12yo cask-strength expressions started getting released about 5 or 6 years ago. They are extremely peaty and aggressive - terrific stuff if that's what you like!
But it is a different beast than the 16, which has a strong sherry influence.
I've often wondered about that. Yes, the 16yo is very sweet, and seems to have a subtle hint of sherry. And yes, it's also very dark, although this is meaningless as Lagavulin 16yo has spirit caramel added to it.
However, I've read plenty of references over the years that state that Lagavulin is filled into bourbon casks only, and I also read somewhere (many years ago) a quote from a Lagavulin employee in which he stated that sherry casks weren't used in the 16yo vatting.
Reggaeblues wrote:The original Lagavulin 12 is an historic beast, @ 43% ABV, which I have never tried, but which is revered and missed...
My very first exposure to the whisky of Lagavulin was of this old version. And all these years later, I still remember the impact it had on my taste buds. In fact, one of my great regrets (at least concerning lack of foresight in my wine and spirits purchasing habits) remains that I didn't salt away extra bottles of the "monster whisky", as my notes described it.
Difficult choice between the Ardbeg 17 Year Old and the newer Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength, as this contest pits increasing rarity against oomph. Much as I too tend to prefer the 10 Year Old Arbeg and the contemporary Lagavulin 12 Year Old to the 17 Year Old Ardbeg, I'd almost be tempted to opt for the latter.
Admiral wrote:The original 12yo was bottled at 40%.
It was 43% here, in fact I swoonly savored a final mini of it New Years Eve 2007/2008!
With that said I'd go with the Ardbeg 17 myself as it is getting rarer and it is an Ardbeg to taste ...at least once in your lifetime. The Lagavulin 12yo CS though quite tasty is a fairly recent release and you should be able to find it again without too much trouble.
kiwicrusaders wrote:I have recetly discovered a secret stash containing a Ardbeg 17 and Lagavulin 12. I have been given the option of taking only one, and I am buggered if I can choose.
OK - I'm easily confused at the best of times - but is this a self-imposed restriction or is someone holding a gun to your head???
Risk the bullet - grab both and run... then call me when the coast is clear and I'll find a way to help you compare both side-by-side ...
If you want to drink it slowly and enjoy it, I would lean towards the Ardbeg 17 just due to the difficulty in acquiring this bottle for less than $200 USD currently. However, if it is an early version of the Lagavulin 12 CS, that would tend to get a deep thought as well. Check out the list below to see what release you're talking about for the Lagavulin 12, though it will say on the label what year it is.
2002 - 58% (1st release)
2002 - 57.8% (2nd release)
2003 - 57.8% (3rd release)
2004 - 58.2% (4th release)
2005 - 57.7% (5th release)
2006 - 57.5% (6th release)
2007 - 56.4% (7th release)
2008 - 48% (Friends of the Classic Malts)
2008 - 56.4% (8th release)
If you want the bottle purely for collectable purposes or future trade/sale, I would most likely say the Ardbeg 17 as that will be easy to trade or sell this one.
The bottom line is the Ardbeg 17 is a nice beverage, and difficult to get currently, but the Lagavulin 12 is a really great tasting beverage. You can always find a Lagavulin 12 to taste, but the Ardbeg 17 is getting harder and pricier to obtain. The clincher would be if this was an Ardbeg 17 from the late 90's, then for sure...get the Ardbeg 17.
Of course, I would take the Ardbeg 17 everytime because I am just an Ardbeg nutcase, though I did purchase a bottle of Lagavulin 12 just before Christmas. Good Luck, and I wish I had this dilemma.
I guess if I had to choose I would pick the Ardbeg 17 if only because it will likely be harder to get your hands on down the road. You should be able to try the various 12yo releases for some time. Of course, I am not sure all the 12s were all available everywhere. For example, I don't think the 2002 1st Release or the 2003 Third Release ever made it to the States. If the 12 you are being offered is one that never was offered in your area that might also factor in your selection. In short, I would go with whatever bottle is rarer and harder to acquire. You will want to taste them all eventually.
Just don't expect the Ardbeg to be a full on peat monster.
That said it has one of the best noses i've sniffed and is one of the best whiskies when your in the mood for a lighter more complex islay.
The Lagavulin 12 YO CS can be found quite easily and at a considerably lower price than the Ardbeg 17. The old lagavulin is a completely different story...
kiwicrusaders wrote:I didn't realise that there was more than one 12 year old. The one on offer is the Lagavulin 12 a cask strength (special release). Not sure if that changes people's opinion. I must say, I like the idea of the cask strength Lagavulin
I believe he is talking about the CS from this decade, but if I were ever given a choice between getting the Lagavulin 12 from the 80's or before and the Ardbeg 17, I would always pick the old Laga 12. Too hard to find to pass up the old Laga 12.
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