whiskgeek wrote:It's changed... What do you think?
Of course it's changed!
The first momentous change occurred when UDV-Diageo decided to discontinue the 12 Year Old 43%ABV (White Horse Distillers label) version in favour of upping the age statement to 16 years. This alteration perhaps represented the most dramatic of all, as the original 12 Year Old edition was an absolute, unbridled monster of a whisky. Wish I'd purchased case-loads of the stuff!
In compensation, the newer 16 Year Old offered up, initially, a slightly more complex and, naturally, more mature potion.
Then there were those distillates produced during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Someone behind the scenes had the brilliant idea to increase the peating levels to 50ppm during this period, and the resulting releases of the 16 Year Old were beauties to behold. Alas, this particular phenomenon didn't last long, the distillery quickly reverting back to a more conventional ~35ppm peating level for the malting process.
Above and beyond these factors, there's the question of Sherry casks. UDV-Diageo has, pretty much across the board and over the last decade or two, transitioned from ex-Sherry cask usage to ex-Bourbon (and refill) cask usage, with the exception of special edtions and whiskies from its Distillers Edition series. Lagavulin has not escaped this transition.
These days, I pretty much stick to the 12 Year Old cask-strength releases. I am heartened, though, to hear of better quality as concerns more recent 16 Year Old releases. May even try one!