Lagavulin 12 Year The Lion’s Fire: The 2021 Diageo Special Releases are here. The latest collection strays from the repetitive Rare by Nature and delves deep into thematic fables, or Legends Untold. Eight legendary Scottish distilleries are featured in the Special Releases, and the collection includes some of the most expensive whisky since the 2017 collection.
The mythical creatures relate to the distilleries based on “the hidden gems that can be found in each corner of the Scottish terrain amongst the lochs and rugged highlands.” The Lion’s Fire is a 12-year-old from Lagavulin. Its powerful flavor is an ode to original Lagavulin leader’s the Mackie’s— James Logan Mackie and Peter “Restless Pete” Mackie.
So how did this legend arise? Well, as the fable goes, “The King of Islay, seen upon the crest of Lagavulin, was no ordinary feline but a lion rampant who prowled the ground of an Islay castle, a fresh victor, intense in power and pride. This brooding and battle-worn beast won its crown through flame and ferocity – and came to represent one of Scotland’s most fiery distilleries.”
The Lion’s Fire features a beautiful illustration of a fierce lion amongst the thistle with a mane of flames. Ken Taylor has captured haunting details of this legend with his masterful artwork. Diageo goes a step further with a QR code that unlocks an immersive tasting experience and gives life to Taylor’s illustration.
Tasting Notes: Lagavulin 12 Year The Lion’s Fire
Vital Stats: 56.5% ABV. Islay single malt matured in refill American oak casks. 750ml
Nose: Dirt and dry fire smoke come through immediately. Baby powder and jasmine are muted in the background. Vegetal notes come through like seaweed. In the background, faint citrus oil lingers.
Palate: Pine needles and damp wood hit at the beginning. Orange and grapefruit peel liven up the dram in the middle before cigar ash takes over. A sugar cube covered in bitters lasts throughout the sip. The smoke builds over the course of the sip. On the finish, there is a meager amount of clove and pink peppercorn.