Laphroaig

   

Laphroaig distillery is located at Port Ellen on Islay and it is believed that the Johnston family began farming at this location in around 1800. They then supposedly founded a distillery in 1815, but didn't get a license until some years later.

Donald Johnston became sole owner after buying out his brother in 1836, but died in 1847 when he fell into a vat of whisky!

Laphroaig remained within the family until 1954 when Ian Hunter died without heirs and left it to Bessie Williamson.

 
 

Bessie had joined Laphroaig for a three month summer job thanks to her uncle Willie, accountant to Ian Hunter, Laphroaig owner at that time and after proving invaluable she remained for 40 years, eventually owning the distillery as mentioned above.

Knowing that further investment to reach global markets was required, Bessie sold Laphroaig to Long John International in the early 1960's.

Allied Domecq acquired the distillery in 1990 and in 1994 Prince Charles visited the distillery and gave it his Royal Warrant.

In 2005 Laphroaig was acquired by Fortune Brands, a division of Beam spirits.

More great distillery info here, thanks to Malt Madness

 

 
 

 

Friends of Laphroaig

   
 

In 1994 Laphroaig started a programme called Friends of Laphroaig which gives fans of their whisky the chance to 'own' one square foot of Islay for which the distillery will pay rent of 1 miniature bottle of Laphroaig per year if the person or 'Friend' turns up to collect it in person at the distillery. Soon after I got to know Sabine in 1998 she applied to be a 'Friend' of her favourite distillery. Sadly we weren't able to get back to Islay very often, but here's a nice little story of one such trip:

 In 2013 after many years since our previous visit we planned a holiday on Islay. On our second day we visited Sabine's favourite distillery where she was a "Friend" and wished to collect her rent for her square foot of Islay. The distillery personnel were a little stumped when they couldn't find her membership details on the computer but they persevered and then discovered she was a "friend" from before the computer days and eventually found her in one of the original volumes shelved in the visitor centre. Suddenly she was a celebrity as they explained they don't often get "Friends" turning up who are in those volumes. She enjoyed an hour or two of pampering and drams in the distillery as shown in the above pictures where she signed the book, sadly for the last time.

Sadly my wife Sabine died in February 2016 so this distillery page is now dedicated to her memory and for me February will always be known as Laphrebruary.

 

 

  Laphroaig (OB)

General whisky characteristics: Peat, iodine and The Atlantic

   
 

 

Laphroaig, 10y, 40% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich gold

Nose: A long walk on an Islay beach, carrying a lump of peat on a misty morning, just after the tide receded,

Palate: Massive peat, growing even richer on the palate over the first few seconds. Also creamy seaweed and toasted wood smoke.

Overall Impression: How can anyone argue with the definitive Laphroaig, although is it my imagination, or does the 10y expression of today have less iodine on the palate than that of 10-20 years ago? In the mood for peat? Then go for this one!

 

     
 

 

Laphroaig, 10y, 40% ABV

200y Anniversary Packaging, 2015

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich yellow gold

Nose: Everything you might wish for from Laphroaig 10y; Peatiness, Atlantic Saltiness and freshness, hints of fruitiness with raspberry but in addition some lovely tropical fruitiness reminding me of Mango.

Palate: That fruitiness is first to the palate with a massive burst of raspberry and mango, but followed shortly afterwards by typical Laphroaig peatiness.

Finish: Long, very long.

Overall Impression: Definitely a good Laphroaig, a very good one but at the same a gentle one. Gentle Giant maybe?

 

     
 

 

Laphroaig, 10y, 43% ABV

1990's Presentation

Original cost of this bottle (now); €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Polished Oak / 21ct gold

Nose: A lovely old school Laphroaig abounding suggestions of seaweed and embers from bonfire logs all wrapped in a smoky mustiness.

Palate: Intense fruity peatiness lacking the seaweed-iness of the nose but otherwise again a good old school Laphroaig.

FInish: Very long with an intense tingle to roof of palate.

Overall Impression: Want an old school Laphroaig with that typical smoky, Iodine and yet fruity character? Look no further.

 

 

 

 
 

 

Laphroaig, 10y, 43% ABV

An older version of 10y at 43% abv

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Short stemmed (Bugatti style)

Colour: Bright rich gold

Nose: Really quite briny, almost salty fish with a gentle hint of furniture polish. Quite musty too.

Palate: Liquorice, furniture polish and vanilla.

Finish: Long and really quite fruity.

Overall Impression: This is a good whisky, but a Laphroaig? The nose suggests Laphroaig, but the palate is most unusual. If I tasted this blind and had to guess the distillery I could be struggling.

 

   
 

 

Laphroaig, 16y, 43% ABV

Special for Duty Free

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Yellow gold

Nose: First thoughts are of a slightly metallic fruitiness and only very light peatiness or smokiness.

Palate: Fruity blancmange, can that really be? Yes, perhaps even hints of custard or creme brulιe. After some minutes in the glass I start to get more eartiness in the flavours, but not much.

Finish: Long but still quite un-Laphroaig-like with plenty of fruitiness but only very mildly earthy.

Overall Impression: Decent whisky, but would I guess Laphroaig if tried blind? Almost certainly not.

 

   
 

 

Laphroaig, 16y, 43% ABV

2019 Edition, although not dated

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow gold

Nose: Initially a musty metallic-ness. Yes, very musty. Hints of vanilla? Sadly not much else.

Palate: That's better, I detect the mustiness with hints of vanilla from the nose, but in a lovely warming way. After some minutes in the glass a distinct fishiness develops with a mild smokiness.

Finish: Medium to long and all very inoffensive.

Overall Impression: Nice palate, shame about the nose. It's all very pleasant and inoffensive but I can't help feeling a little Laphroaig-iness is missing.

 

   
 

 

Laphroaig, 18y, 48% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich oak, amber

Nose: Glowing peat embers on an open fire with just a dash of papaya and apple.

Palate: Deliciously smooth, slightly fruity peat and light smoke with a hint of fresh Atlantic breeze.

Finish: Long, gentle peat, Atlantic sea-air and very slightly bitter at the end.

Overall Impression: A very civilised and most enjoyable Laphroaig.

 

   
 

 

Laphroaig, 25y, Black Label, 45.1% ABV

2014 Cask Strength Edition

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Very clear pale yellow

Nose: Gentle delicious peatiness with hints of musty root liquorice. It remains light as it develops suggestions of fruitiness which are akin to fresh green apple.

Palate: Again light and gentle on the palate with a smooth mouth-feel. It's fruity in an applie pie and custard kind of way and then expands across the palate to include hints of smoky bacon crisps or even Black Forest ham.

Finish: Long with a lingering smokiness.

Overall Impression: Civilised gentle giant.

 

     
 

 

Laphroaig, 30y, 43% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich dark oak

Nose: A surprising almost minty freshness hits the nose followed by a fruity woodiness. Is that a suggestion of Brasso too? There's lots happening here but not in a typical Laphroaig way and so far there's no peatiness on offer.

Palate: Exotic fruitiness but really quite dry on the palate. There's a woodiness too, then vanilla pods and a mild leafiness. This is what I describe as an Autumnal whisky thanks to that leafiness and woodiness as I think of the damp leafy country lanes of rural England.

Finish: Very long, almost never ending in a gentle Autumnal way.

Overall Impression: I just love the leafy Autumnal character.

 

   

 

 

Vintages

     
 

 

Laphroaig, Vintage 1977, Bottled Spring 1995, 43% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Shiny yellow gold

Nose: A quite surprising and delightfully massive hit of tropical fruitiness. This is mostly of mango in a really quite musty way.

Palate: Very musty, mouth-coating and warming with just a hint of tropical fruitiness but this time more of pineapple than mango.

FInish: Very long and fruity.

Overall Impression: This may never be recognised blind as a Laphroaig with its tropical fruitiness, but it's most certainly a stunning and marvellous whisky.

 

     
 

 

Laphroaig, Vintage 1989, 23y, 48.9% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale bronze

Nose: Initially very warming but otherwise developing slowly as it reluctantly gives up its secrets including suggestions of slightly medicinal bonfire embers, raspberry, something mildly metallic and then a musty, cold farmyard barn or outhouse.

Palate: What a massive difference to the nose! Firstly with an exceptionally smooth and velvety mouth-feel then secondly with what can only be described as smoky peaches. This is so smooth and gentle.

FInish: Long but again quite gentle or even subdued.

Overall Impression: This one is just so subdued and gentle. Awfully civilised even.

 

     

 

  Brodir

Port Wood Finish

   
 

 

Laphroaig, Brodir, 13y, 50.5% ABV

Bottle No. 1521 of 2000

Special release for Viking Line

Original cost of this bottle; not sure, but I expect €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Very pale watery yellow gold

Nose: This starts with lots of Atlantic-ness; salty, coastal and even almost, but not quite fishy in a secluded harbour kind of way. This initial burst offers no smokiness or peatiness but these elements do slowly develop and are evident after five minutes or so in the glass.

Palate: Immediately earthy and gently peaty with plenty of tropical fruitiness alongside. For the fruitiness I'm reminded of mango and papaya then right at the end I get a suggestion of liquorice root.

FInish: Medium to long with that suggestion of liquorice root right at the end.

Overall Impression: Subdued, reserved and gentle. Is this really 50% abv? How surprising.

 

   
 

 

Laphroaig, Brodir, Batch 001, 48% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich dark oak

Nose: First impression is one of smokiness, but more wood-smoke than peat. Then comes a gentle hint of grassiness, perhaps dried like hay and finally after a minute or two the Atlantic fresh saltiness often detected in Laphroaig making me wonder if I'm experiencing an Islay coastal farmyard.

Palate: Now that's a surprise, I'm suddenly transported to a small town in Ireland called Kilfenora. Specifically to the local gift shop which is the only place I know that sells "Irish peat and rainwater" soap. It's the peatiness along with a strange soapiness that does this to me. I adore that soap, but soapiness in a Laphroaig?

FInish: Medium to long, gentle and repeating.

Overall Impression: Irish peat and rainwater soap? Really? Should I be using this as a bath salt?

 

     
 

 

Laphroaig, Brodir, Batch 002, 48% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale amber

Nose: Mildly smoky suggestion of red wine and its fruitiness. Also quite earthy in a mulch-y way.

Palate: More suggestion of red wine on the palate but this is accompanied by a more tropical fruitiness. There's also a hint of smokiness but it's only a faint hint. There's also a quite solid mouth-feel.

FInish: Long

Overall Impression: Unusual, different but surprisingly nice, I like it.

 

     

 

 

Cairdeas

Feis Ile bottlings

 
 

 

Laphroaig, Cairdeas 2009, 12y, 57.5% ABV

Feis Ile 2009 bottling

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale Yellow

Nose: Sweet aromatic light rubber, then gently smoked peat left out on an Atlantic jetty to dry.

Palate: Initially creamy fruit (redcurrants and berries) but this soon dissipates to leave a pile of peat sunbathing on a Sunny Atlantic beach.

With 3 drops of water: An extra helping of smoky peat comes to the nose. The palate is smoother, but loses the fruit and gains much more peat-power.

With a further 3 drops of water: Peat, (wood) smoke and pure Atlantic air.

Finish: Long and peaty, more so with water.

Overall Impression: The initial nose was quite aromatic with a little rubber alongside the normal Laphroaig traits, but the addition of water soon turned this into a more traditional and very powerful Laphroaig. This is a very good bottling, I love it!

 

   
 

Laphroaig, Cairdeas 2010, Masters Edition, 57.5% ABV

Feis Ile 2010 bottling

"A range of spirit from 11 to 19 years old"

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Very pale yellow

Nose: Gentle smoke, light peat, salt and hints of light leather.

Palate: Subtle smoke and peat with the faintest suggestion of fruit.

With 3 drops of water: Sligthly more pepper (tingle) but an introduction of faint treacle toffee and popcorn alongside a sligthly stronger peat influence.

With 3 more drops of water: A slightly fresher nose but again more pepper (tingle) on the palate with even more peat, popcorn and treacle toffee.

Finish: Very long, almost everlasting with more water, but with slight hints of liquorice right at the end.

Overall Impression: This is a rather different Laphroaig. It's sophisticated and subtle but the addition of water removes some of the subtleness. This is another extremely good Laphroaig and those subtle overtones reflect the inclusion of some older vintages in the recipe. Excellent!

 

   
 

Laphroaig, Cairdeas 2011, Ileach Edition, 50.5% ABV

Feis Ile 2011 bottling

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow

Nose: Initially 'prickly' and smoky with peat smoke as opposed to wood smoke. Also fruity with suggestions of apple and perhaps peach & apricot. It's also quite fresh and very faintly fishy.

Palate: Surprisingly smooth and creamy mouth-feel and exhibiting all the smokiness, fishiness and fruitiness from the nose.

Finish: Long and fruity.

Overall Impression: Thoroughly enjoyable, in fact I love it.

 

   
 

Laphroaig, Cairdeas 2014, 51.4% ABV

Feis Ile 2014 bottling

First fill bourbon casks & Amontillado hogshead(s)

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Yellow 9ct gold

Nose: Malty with a mild and woody fruitiness alongside typical Atlantic saltiness with hints of Islay peat. This also has a freshness which isn't quite minty, but aiming in that direction.

Palate: Very fruity, peaty and retaining that freshness from the nose. It's very intense.

Finish: Very long, in fact almost everlasting.

Overall Impression: Fruity and intensely a-typical of Laphroaig. I really like it!

 

   
 

Laphroaig, Cairdeas 2015, 200th Anniversary bottling, 51.5% ABV

Feis Ile 2015 bottling

Distilled 2003, bottled 2015

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Very pale, almost like discoloured water

Nose: Rather fresh but hinting at some mildly metallic notes. Also slightly grassy but remaining over-ridingly fresh.

Palate: Very intense (ABV?) but extremely rounded and balanced with that freshness, grassiness and peatiness.

Finish: Very long and still intense.

Overall Impression: Another a-typical Laphroaig with that freshness and grassiness, but again I love it.

 

   

 

 

Cask Strength Batches

   
 

 

Laphroaig, 10y Cask Strength, 57.8% ABV

Batch 001, bottled Feb. 2009

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich, glowing amber

Nose: Initially slightly toasted peat, opening quickly to include the smoke of an open bonfire in the middle of a Scootish jetty in the Atlantic.

Palate: A rich Laphroaig with lots of peat, little smoke and a faint medicinal touch.

With 3 drops of water: Much more smoke on the nose. A creamy palate of full-strength peat.

With 3 more drops of water: Smoke and sea-air in abundance on the nose. In-depth, slightly medicinal peat on the palate.

Overall Impression: A wonderful Laphroaig which takes a little water to really open to full effect.

 

   
 

 

Laphroaig, 10y Cask Strength, 58.3% ABV

Batch 002, bottled Jan. 2010

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Dram-atics Advent-urous live review

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Amber

Nose: Uncompromising power with true Islay peat and lots of it, but also plenty of that Laphroaig maritime 'je ne sais quoi' which personnifies the slightly dilapidated wood of an old Islay jetty, soaked for many years in the salty Atlantic. I do like a good Laphroaig nose and this is certainly one of them.

Palate: Quite smooth as the peat encompasses the palate and just grows almost exponentially on it.

With 4 drops of water: the nose sympathises even more with The Atlantic whilst the palate lightens sligthly even to the point of gaining a little fruit.

A further 4 drops of water: bring some of that light fruit to the nose and smoothens the palate much more too.

Finish: Very long and very peaty with a little of that fruit making an appearance too. In fact at this stage the fruit is almost red apple.

Overall Impression: I'm not sure this is quite as good as batch 001 in 2009, but it is good, very good and thank you very much, I think I'll have another!

 

   
 

 

Laphroaig, 10y Cask Strength, 55.3% ABV

Batch 003, bottled Jan. 2011

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich golden oak

Nose: Rich and deep earthy peat and (wood) smoke with a hint of saltiness. There's also something quite richly fruity in here which is along the lines of raisins, sultanas or even plums, but this really sits alongside a quite rubbery, smoky and 'Atlantic' character.

Palate: There's an initial earthiness accompanied by a suggestion of cherries before a peat explosion caresses the palate. I can only say warming, peaty, smoky & fruity.

With 4 drops of water: A fruitiness remains on the nose but it has totally changed from earthy dark fruits to light and slightly bitter ones with mainly green apple and pear but this doesn't last long as the fruitiness is soon replaced by a healthy dose of peat, smoke and fresh Atlantic sea air. As for the palate it is dominated by wonderful Atlantic peat and smoke with a hint of toasted raisins. Did you ever toast raisins? I somehow think you should!

Finish: Long, with wonderfully earthy peat.

Overall Impression: Transmoglifyingly good! Wonderful.

 

   
 

 

Laphroaig, 10y Cask Strength, 58.3% ABV

Batch 004, bottled Jan. 2012

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich coppery cork

Nose: An initial and intense burst of salty sea air announces a massive maritime presence to the nose. This very quickly develops a light rubberiness and earthy peatiness which expands over 3-5 minutes in the glass. This also has a mellow sweetness which, after a further 2-3 minutes develops hints of light flora.

Palate: Surprisingly smooth and lacking alcohol burn for 58% as everything promised by the nose gently arrives onto the palate. Earthy, peaty, floral fruitiness ... very nice indeed.

With 4 drops of water: More intense maritime peatiness on the nose whilst the palate remains delightfully smooth, even if slightly more intense too.

A further 4 drops of water: Altogether lighter, fainter and somehow too faded, the first 4 drops were excellent, these are just a drop too far.

Finish: Long, delightfully long.

Overall Impression: What a delight, I love this whisky especially with the first 4 drops of water.

 

   
 

 

Laphroaig, 10y Cask Strength, 57.2% ABV

Batch 005, bottled Feb. 2013

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Delicate gold, perfect Laphroaig colour

Nose: A lovely blend of (wood) smoke, earth and peatiness with a very gentle suggestion of fresh fruitiness in the background. Again typical and classic Laphroaig style.

Palate: Just everything from the nose delicately balanced and enhanced with a light tingle thanks to the high abv.

With 3 drops of water: The nose intensifies with even more smokiness and earthiness whilst the palate loses the fruitiness as the smokiness expands.

Finish: Wonderfully long and intense.

Overall Impression: I can only describe this as a great old school Laphroaig. Did I say "Great", aye indeed!

 

     
 

 

Laphroaig, 10y Cask Strength, 58.0% ABV

Batch 006, bottled Feb. 2014

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale Oak

Nose: I'm standing alongside The Atlantic Ocean with fresh lightly salted sea aromas but having said this, it's perhaps a slightly unusual or atypical Laphroaig as it seems to lack some of typical smokiness. It also appears to offer a slight freshness akin to a sweaty blue cheese. Lovely but quite unusual.

Palate: After that quite unusual nose I have to say the palate is absolutely 100% typical Laphroaig as I detect a wonderful smokiness and earthiness with the requisite Atlantic saltiness with just a touch of iodine.

Finish: Long, very long but was that a hint of liquorice right at the end?

Overall Impression: A truly amazing palate with a slightly atypical nose makes for a most enjoyable dram.

 

     
 

 

Laphroaig, 10y Cask Strength, 56.9% ABV

Batch 007, bottled Jan. 2015

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich gold

Nose: Pink candy floss, yes quite pink, but this very quickly fades to leave that signature peatiness and a suggestion of dry mustiness alongside hints of pears.

Palate: Definitely no candy floss here, just a lovely Laphroaig offering rich smokiness, earthiness and a hint of fruitiness, perhaps raspberry and all served in a quite meaty way.

Finish: Very long and smokily meaty.

Overall Impression: Nice, very nice.

 

     
 

 

Laphroaig, 10y Cask Strength, 59.2% ABV

Batch 008, bottled Mar. 2016

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich golden light oak.

Nose: This opens with a rich and quite solid eartiness. Over some minutes a typical Laphroaig smokiness develops which further progresses to include maritime elements also typical of older-style Laphroaigs. By this I mean a mixture of Atlantic iodine and saltiness. Just to complete things a few minutes allows a light and gentle fruitiness into the mixture.

Palate: Rich, full-bodied and almost thick whilst having a creamy smooth mouth-feel. It's fruity with hints of raspberry, papaya and mango whilst having a peaty, smoky earthiness.

Finish: Very long with that smoky earthiness just refusing to fade.

Overall Impression: Excellent.

 

   
 

 

Laphroaig, 10y Cask Strength, 58.1% ABV

Batch 009, bottled Feb. 2017

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Lightly coloured oak

Nose: Immediately fruity followed quickly by a gentle hint of fishiness, rather like sitting alongside a fishing harbour. The fruitiness is that of raspberries but also with a hint of something mildly bitter, gooseberry maybe?

Palate: Definitely suggestions of creamy fruitiness and then, by total surprise a fiercely intense tingle rather like a sweet hot sauce launches itself across the palate.

With 4 drops of water: A mildly metallic, but not unpleasant aroma is now present on the nose, whilst a lovely light smokiness is present on the palate. Then more peatiness / smokiness lasts long into the finish.

Finish: Long and slightly bitter but much more pleasant with peat and smoke when a few drops of water are added.

Overall Impression: Even before the water is added when the whisky seems to lack peatiness, if you served me this blind I couldn't imagine thinking it to be anything other than Laphroaig. Add a few drops of water for best results.

 

   
 

 

 

Laphroaig, 10y Cask Strength, 58% ABV

Batch 10, bottled Jan. 2018

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Many thanks to Boris for the sample and photo

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich dark oak

Nose: A very subtle start, this dram certainly needs a few minutes to develop its light smokiness with further hints of exotic fruitiness. I'm now detecting musty aromas of passion fruit with something else .... star fruit maybe?

Palate: An initial hit of smokiness on the palate is followed quickly by intense fruitiness spreading across the palate. Again the fruitiness is just as experienced on the nose .... exotic, passion fruit, star fruit?

With 4 drops of water: The nose remains musty but now has plenty of peaty smokiness too. As for the palate it too now has much more peaty smokiness.

Finish: Long without the drops of water and extremely long with.

Overall Impression: Again this needs just a few drops of water for the best experience. Very enjoyable indeed.

 

   
 

 

Laphroaig, 10y Cask Strength, 58.6% ABV

Batch 11, bottled Mar. 2019

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Amber with hints of copperiness

Nose: Fruitily Atlantic with a mild peatiness and fishiness. The fruitiness is definitely tropical, perhaps mango or papaya?

Palate: That fruity Atlantic fishiness comes through strongly on the palate but this time the fruitiness is a little more fresh or citrus. I'm thinking pineapple. The whole experience is warming as it expands across the palate.

With a few drops of water: The nose is now slightly subdued on the fishiness but comprises more fruitiness. The palate also has more of the fruitiness and a creamy mouth-feel.

Finish: Medium to long with more of the fishiness and fruitiness.

Overall Impression: A slightly unusual Laphroaig with the pineapple-iness but still a lovely dram.

 

   
 

 

Laphroaig, 10y Cask Strength, 60.1% ABV

Batch 12, bottled Feb 2020

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich, dark gold.

Nose: Intense, well it is 60%abv. Lots of wood smoke, old leather and even a very mild suggestion of camphor. I somehow get the impression of a sauna running at full heat.

Palate: Peppery and spicy with suggestions of sea-salted chocolate and mild coffee, but at the same time it has a kind of sweetness.

With 4 drops of water: The nose is now less intense (softer) but also fresher with a fruitiness akin to summer berries. The palate has a sweetness with hints of toffee and weak coffee, it's also less salted now.

With 8 drops of water in 4cl: The nose has much more fruitiness and now includes a suggestion of dark cherries. The palate exhibits no saltiness but remains sweet and fruity with a hint of coffee.

Finish: Long but shorter with the water.

Overall Impression: A rather different CS Laphroaig in that I'm getting lots of 'sherried' notes but have no idea what percentage of this edition comprises sherry casks. Do I like it? I have to say it's magnificent and challenges that spectacular Batch #005 for the crown of my favourite CS edition.

 

   

 

 

 

Laphroaig, "Highgrove"

OB for Prince of Wales' Highgrove shop

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Bright yellow gold

Nose: Fruity, creamy and peaty all rolled into one. Light antiseptic (medicinal) undertones slowly develop over 2-3 minutes as the fruitiness fades leaving the peatiness and medicinal qualities to expand further.

Palate: Initially a surprisingly watery mouth-feel suggests some disappointment, but the whisky literally grows on the palate with full-flavours. There's lots of medicinal peatiness and a suggestion of liquorice towards the end.

Finish: Long, deceptively long.

Overall Impression: A great nose is initially let down by the initial wateriness of the palate, but this realyl does literally grow on you and turns into a very good overall dram.

 

   

 

 

 

Laphroaig, Lore, 48% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow gold

Nose: My initial thoughts here are of a typical Laphroaig with an earthy peatiness, lightly smoked, gentle tropical fruitiness and all set to a background of Atlantic freshness with a suggestion of saltiness.

Palate: Initially lots of fruity earthiness with a gentle, almost subdued hint of peatiness. I also detect that tropical fruitiness carrying on from the nose with traces of melon, mild papaya and a touch of red apple.

Finish: Long, but a little watery.

Overall Impression: A good traditional style Laphroaig but I'm very surprised at the high abv as that finish seems a little watery suggesting a much lower abv.

 

     

 

 

 

Laphroaig, Quarter Cask, 48% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Warm gold

Nose: This takes a couple of minutes to develop, starting with gently smoked ham, then opening to a peaty smokiness and finally a full peat bog right alongside the Atlantic Ocean.

Palate: Creamy peat which just expands across the palate with an Atlantic jetty for a companion.

With 3 drops of water: A little more intense on the palate, more warming and even a touch of liquorice in the finish.

Overall Impression: This is a wonderfully sophisticated peat experience, but with any ferocity or sharp edges to discomfort the palate. It is undoubtedly a Laphroaig, but without the raw iodine elements of the 10y expression. A delightful dram!

 

     

 

 

 

Laphroaig, Triple Wood, 48% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€ to €€€€€

 
 

Nose: Peat, seaweed, malt and (wood) smoke all sitting in an old deep-buttoned leather chair and surrounded by oak book shelves

Palate: Rich, deep, complex and mature with raspberries and bramble (blackberry) jam to the fore, but the aftertaste is dominated by peat, smoke, sea air and just a touch of salt.

Overall Impression: Make no mistake, this is a real Laphroaig in a smooth, rich and mature way, with the more typical Laphroaig traits dominating the aftertaste and not the initial palate. I love this whisky!

 

     

 

 

 

Laphroaig, PX Cask, 48% ABV

Special release for Travel Retail

Original cost of this bottle; not sure, but I expect €€€€€ to €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Polished brass

Nose: Earthy with a light rubberiness followed shortly by hints of medicinal fruitiness which keep getting intercepted by that light rubberiness. Very interesting repeating progressions.

Palate: Quite dry fruitiness to the fore dominates the light earthy rubberiness in background. The fruitiness is really quite exotic, papaya maybe? Towards the finish there's a suggestion of light and fruity red wine.

Finish: Long and dry with that light and fruity red wine.

Overall Impression: That red wine really works a treat here, it isn't overpowering and actually adds to the overall balance of this whisky. I love it.

 

     
 

 

Laphroaig, PX Cask, 48% ABV

Special release for Travel Retail (2019)

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Amber

Nose: Mildly fishy and peaty with an underlying red wine style fruitiness which is a little musty. There are also hints of woodiness.

Palate: Warming as it expands across the palate with an initial suggestion of what seems to be almond (marzipan). Then come the hints of a young and fruity, light red wine.

Finish: Long.

Overall Impression: There's a real "PX" influence here in this slightly unusual or A-typical Laphroaig, but it's a cracker, I love it.

 

   

 

 

Independent Bottlers

 
 

Adelphi & A.D.Rattray

 

 

 

 

Adelphi, Laphroaig, 20y, 54.4% ABV

Cask 6580, distilled 1996, bottled 2017, one of 538 bottles

Original cost of this bottle  Unknown

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour Extremely pale yellow gold

Nose: Fruity, fishy earthiness. I'm almost thinking smoked mackerel served with a peach sauce. This is so typically "Atlantic" and Islay.

Palate: Very intense with a fruity fishiness and overtones of peatiness. Delightful.

Finish: Almost everlasting with intense fruitiness.

Overall Impression: Truly delightful. A "Great"? Maybe.

 

   

 

 

 

A.D. Rattray, Laphroaig 25y, 24.2.1986-24.2.2011, 60.6% ABV

Bourbon Cask No.2123

Original cost of this bottle €€€€€

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: 21ct yellow gold

Nose: An initial burst of galia melon and papaya is followed by a suggestion of cherry wood. After 3-5 minutes a smokiness begins to appear which is followed after 2-3 more minutes by a slightly antiseptic suggestion.

Palate: An initially smooth mouth-feel offers an expanding fruity punch and a light pepperiness. This expands to include lots more fruit and then light peat.

Finish: Very long and fruity with a mild peatiness.

Overall Impression: Another truly excellent Laphroaig approaching "Greatness", but not quite.

 

   

 

 

Douglas Laing

 

 

 

 

D. Laing, Old Malt Cask, Laphroaig, distilled 1992, 12y, 50% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Nose: Typical Laphroaig, peat, smoke and sea-air. But not in a medicinal way. In fcat, further nosing even identifies a little blue cheese.

Palate: Tingling peat and smoke, but less pungent than the OB 10y.

Overall Impression: A good Laphroaig which, as the age suggests, lies in taste between the OB 10y & 15y.

 

   
 

 

D. Laing, Old Malt Cask Laphroaig, 20y, 50% ABV

Special bottling for La Maison Du Whisky

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich gold

Nose: Toasted malt, faint rubber, peat and an Atlantic harbour or fishing village.

Palate: Rich and smooth with fruity reminders of Summer berries, but also mature peat and smoke in a light, Summery kind of way.

With 5 drops of water: A lighter, fruitier nose and the palate has 'grown' somewhat to enhance the peat.

With 4 more drops of water: Warming peat with the fruit relogated to the background.

Finish: Long, even longer with water.

Overall Impression: Once again fruit plays a part in this whisky but the peat dominates overall. This is undoubtedly a mature Laphroaig, the iodine, seaweed and Atlantic are not present and water is required is required to get the best out of this dram, but when added it rewards thoroughly and turns into a very good and extremely solid whisky.

 

   

 

 

 

Douglas Laing "Old Particular", Laphroaig, 49.1% ABV

Distilled October 1998, Bottled Decmber 2014, 16y

Cask DL10579, bottled for HNWS Taiwan

Original cost of this bottle  €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour Pale yellow (lemon) to the points of looking quite watery.

Nose: Fishy, fruity and mildly smoky. The fruitiness seems to suggest summer berries with hints of breen apple and pear, then with time in the glass this fruitiness expands. The smokiness is always present in a quite musty way.

Palate: The smoky mustiness of the nose carries through into the palate as does the light fishiness. The fruitiness of the nose just doesn't carry through so much onto the palate.

Finish: Long smoky fishiness with a mild pepperiness right at the end.

Overall Impression: This just couldn't be anything other than a Laphroaig, a delightful one too.

 

   
 

 

Douglas Laing "Old Particular", Laphroaig, 48.4% ABV

Distilled October 1997, Bottled Decmber 2015, 18y

Refill Hogshead, Cask Ref. DL10591

Original cost of this bottle  €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour Extremely pale, almost almond

Nose: Loads of Atlantic-ness here with a musty, fishy & briney-ness with a mild smokiness in the background. This is reminding me of a busy fishing harbour. There is a mild fruitiness too but it's very faint in the background.

Palate: Initially very intense with a smoky fishiness before a tropical fruitiness joins the party.

Finish: Medium

Overall Impression: For me this is an older style Laphroaig concentrating more on what I call Atlantic characteristics than the fruitiness of more recent bottlings. Lovely.

 

   
 

 

Old Particular (D. Laing), Laphroaig 19y, 53.3% ABV

Distilled Oct. 1996 bottled Feb. 2016, one of 22 bottles

Refill Hogshead Ref. DL10720

Original cost of this bottle  €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich dark amber

Nose: Fresh Atlantic sea air, almost with light metallic notes (but in a good way). Mild, very mild fishy notes which again isn't a bad thing.

Palate: Everything from the nose now personnified on the palate but also including a suggestion of creaminess, rather akin to custard.

Finish: Long with a suggestion of BBQ custard, if that's in any way possible.

Overall Impression: Big and bold, a really good and enjoyable dram.

 

   

 

 

 

Director's Cut (D.Laing) 25y, Laphroaig, 52.3% ABV

March 1989 - July 2014, one of 42 bottles

Refill Hogshead, DL Ref. 10351

Original cost of this bottle  Unknown

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Coppery bronze

Nose: What I can only describe as warmed raspberries immersed in Atlantic sea air, with a suggestion of glowing bonfire embers in the background.

Palate: Steckerlfisch again? Or perhaps smoked kippers (herring) over an Atlantic beach bonfire. The smokiness is definitely wood and not peat smoke.

Finish: Long and smoky.

Overall Impression: Once again a Laphroaig with a smoky fish-iness but perhaps more to my liking with kippers as opposed to Steckerlfisch. Actually very good indeed.

 

   

 

 

Jack Wieber

 

 

 

 

Jack Wieber (JWWW) Laphroaig 5y, 56.7% ABV

(Bourbon) Cask 190, one of 120 bottles

"Great Ocean Liners" series

Original cost of this bottle  €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Very pale yellow, almost like cloudy water

Nose: Initially lots of milky biscuit on the nose, opening to include fresh Atlantic Ocean-like saltiness, but that biscuity-ness is always present.

Palate: Definitely biscuit-like and almost doughy, rather like bread dough. Then comes the peatiness in a mixture of peat, wood-smoke and saltiness. I'm back on Islay for sure.

Finish: Medium to long.

Overall Impression: Slightly unusual with that biscuit-iness but still enjoyable although obviously young.

 

   

 

 

 

Jack Wieber (JWWW) Laphroaig 14y, 57.9% ABV

Bottling for Whisky Fair Limburg 2015

Original cost of this bottle  Unknown

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale yellow gold

Nose: INitially some mildly peppery smokiness then developing lots of fruitiness which is slightly bitter but tropical, perhaps akin to maracuja, papaya or mango. After 3-4 minutes in the glass that pepperiness fades.

Palate: Definitely tingly or peppery on the palate, also with that fruitiness but the smokiness of the nose is now more like a fishiness.

Finish: Extremely long with that mild fishiness and a peppery tingle.

Overall Impression: Mildly fruity with that typical Laphroaig Atlantic-ness, I love it.

 

   

 

 

Malts of Scotland

 

 

 

 

Malts of Scotland, Laphroaig 1996, 2.7.1996 - 3.2009, 58.5% ABV

Bourbon Hogshead, Cask 5382, one of 96 bottles

Original cost of this bottle Unknown but I suspect €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Gold, rich oak

Nose: Initially musty wood, then light furniture polish before developing a solid earthiness which expands to include peat and even more earthiness with time in the glass.

Palate: Very nice, gentle, sophisticated peat.

Finish: Very long.

Overall Impression: Uncomplicated, uncomplex, very nice Laphroaig.

 

   
 

 

Malts of Scotland, Laphroaig 06.1996 - 09.2012, 56.1% ABV

Sherry Hogshead, Cask 12041, bottle No.61 of 240

Original cost of this bottle  €€€€€

Reviewed (blind) as part of MMA 2012

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark amber, Mahogany-ish

Nose: Furniture polish growing more intense quite quickly. Not quite dark fruitiness but something similar, fresh, rich and mildly antiseptic. Just like a good Laphroaig should be.

Palate: Big, rich, creamy, luxurious. Now why am I thinking maritime, peaty crθme Brulιe?

Finish: Long, rich and creamy.

Overall Impression: I love it. Not quite a "Great" but not far away.

 

   
 

 

Malts of Scotland, Laphroaig 17.10.96 - 3.2010, 57.6% ABV

Cask 7307, bottle No.39 of 273

Original cost of this bottle  Unknown

Many thanks to Lars for this sample during Limburg 2017

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Extremely pale yellow

Nose: My first thoughts here are that it's fresh and herbal. Not quite minty fresh but as in the countryside fresh air but concentrated, very concentrated. I detect no obvious smokiness or peatiness.

Palate: The freshness continues onto the palate in a creamy kind of way but it's also now getting quite smoky too. The whole thing is quite intense on the palate but I put that down to the ABV.

Finish: Long.

Overall Impression: Although the palate was quite typical of a Laphroaig the nose certainly wasn't. Unusual then but very enjoyable indeed.

 

   
 

 

Malts of Scotland, Laphroaig 1990 - 2015, 54.1% ABV

Cask 15057, bottle No.38 of 218

Highland Circle 25th Anniversary bottling

Original cost of this bottle  Unknown

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Extremely pale and watery yellow

Nose: This has a freshness alongside smokiness and fruitiness in the foreground whilst suggesting mild fishiness in the background. With time this becomes more smoky reminding me of bonfire embers.

Palate: As this spreads across the palate it grows in peppery (tingly) intensity and exhibits all the attributes of the nose (smoky, fishy, fruity) with the fruitiness reminding me of peach or apricot.

Finish: Very long with lots of smokiness right at the end.

Overall Impression: Magnificent, I really love this Laphroaig.

 

   

 

 

Signatory

 

 

 

 

Signatory, Laphroaig 15y, 26.11.1996 - 11.6.2012, 51.2% ABV

Cask (hogshead) No.8510, bottle No.80 of 297

Original cost of this bottle  €€€€€

Reviewed (blind) as part of MMA 2012

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Chablis or Pouilly Fumι

Nose: Initially lots of fruitiness with hints of banana stem, melon and peach but all warehoused in a peat bog. This is all followed by a hint of spent match or firework touchpaper, but not for long as a lightly peated earthiness soon returns.

Palate: Bigger and more intense than the nose with a tingly pepperiness alongside fruity peatiness. The fruitiness is reminiscent of (red) summer berries and peach, but the peatiness remains foremost. It's quite sweet too.

Finish: Long and fading only very gently and slowly.

Overall Impression: A very subdued nose gives way to a much more intense palate. It's not bad, but I somehow think it could be much more. It seems to lack a little depth somewhere.

 

   
 

 

Signatory "Vintage", Laphroaig, 16y, 59.9% ABV

Distilled 22.09.1998, bottled 06.02.2015, one of 585

Refill sherry butt No.700389 for TWE

Original cost of this bottle  €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour Amber

Nose: My initial impressions are ones of wine-iness and copperiness, almost to the point of being metallic. As it settles in the glass I then detect a mustiness in an almost (but not quite) smoky way. It's also fresh, almost minty, but again not quite.

Palate: This is mouth-coating, it's big and it just expands across the palate with a red-wine fruitiness.

Finish: Long with more of that red wine-iness.

Overall Impression: This is an A-typical Laphroaig but nevertheless an enjoyable one where the refill sherry butt imparts that red wine character. Nice.

 

   
 

 

Signatory, Laphroaig 16y, 4.4.1995-16.6.2011, 57.4% ABV

"Cask Strength Collection" Bourbon Barrel No.44, bottle No.18 of 140

Original cost of this bottle €€€€€

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Bright golden yellow.

Nose: Very aromatic and lots of fresh air which reminds me of freshly washed blankets with conditioner hanging out to dry. This is followed by a gradually expanding leafiness accompanied by peat smoke. Do Lenor offer a peated version of their fabric conditioner? If so, I want it!

Palate: A surprising initial burst of creamy coconut with expanding peat which just expands and expands and expands .... Lots of Atlantic sea-air now too.

Finish: Long and peaty and continuing to expand.

Overall Impression: Wonderful. Lots of what I call traditional Laphroaig accompanied by plenty of not so traditional floral surprises. Another excellent Laphroaig.

 

   

 

 

The Whisky Agency

 

 

 

 

Whisky Agency 12y, 1998-2010, 52.4% ABV

"Liquid Library" series

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Munich whisky fair

Colour: Pale yellow

Nose: Peat, smoke and that indisputable Scottish open countryside alongside Balck-Forest ham!

Palate: An Islay peat block served wrapped in Black Forest ham with a hint of white pepper.

Finish: Long with faint pepper and green apples.

Overall Impression: A very nice Laphroaig indeed!

 

   
 

 

Whisky Agency, Laphroaig 20y, 1991-2011, 53.3% ABV

"Liquid Sun" series, Sherry Hogshead, one of 279 bottles

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich amber, maybe almost teak

Nose: Lots of lightly polished smoky oak which slowly expands to include a faint rubberiness. There's also a fruitiness which reminds me of red berries and then a faint suggestion of nuts. Somehow I wonder if this is what it would be like treading a fruit and nut mixture in an old oak vat wearing rubber wellies.

Palate: Very creamy mouth-feel and lots of vanilla, yes really, even though this is a sherry cask. It's almost like a bourbon (the vanilla not the whisky) vanilla sauce. This is soon replaced by expanding peat smoke, apricot and toasted wood as I detect a definite change to more typical sherry cask characteristics.

Finish: Very long, very rich and slightly dry.

Overall Impression: What a surprising whisky. There's just so much happening on both nose and palate. Wonderful indeed!

 

   
 

 

Whisky Agency, Laphroaig 21y, 1990-2011, 55.9% ABV

"Private Stock" series (a joint bottling with TWE), Bourbon Hogshead, one of 264 bottles

Original cost of this bottle €€€€€

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Very pale (9ct) yellow gold

Nose: Lots of glowing enbers, fresh Atlantic sea-air and some toffee-apple. In fact this is so reminiscent of my childhood bonfire nights (you know, Nov. 5th when we celebrate Guy Fawkes failure to blow up the Houses of Parliament) but in this case held on an Atlantic beach.

Palate: Even more peat on the palate, in fact that bonfire just exploded in a very peaty way. It's also really quite fruity and suggests hot raspberries swimming in vanilla sauce.

Finish: Long and gently peaty.

Overall Impression: If only those childhood bonfires would have been held on an Atlantic beach! This is wonderful whisky, lots of peat but fruity too. I love that nose, but the palate isn't bad either.

 

   

 

 

The Whisky Exchange & Speciality Drinks

 

 

 

 

The Whisky Exchange "Lp1", 58.8% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

"Dram-atics" live review

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark (21ct) gold

Nose: Light smoke and peat, but lots of fruit. This also has hints of sligthly smoky ham, not an intense Black Forest ham, but more like a local "black-smoked" ham which we buy.

Palate: Creamy and peaty, this would be the perfect flavour for a peat ice cream! But again it needs water.

With 4 drops of water: The nose has developed a specific apricot aroma alongside the peat and the palate is already smoother with peat and fruit.

With 4 more drops: The peat is more intense but the fruit has been replaced by more maritime aromas. The palate is turning into 'Islay at its best' with intense peat and (wood) smoke.

A further 4 drops: A much more maritime nose but the palate is now weakened a little too much. There's still peat and smoke, but all intensity is lost with this latest addition of water.

Finish: Long, long, peat.

Overall Impression: I'm amazed by the amount of fruit in this Laphroaig, but don't worry, it's a genuine Laphroaig with that iodine, smoke and peat when water is added, just don't add too much. A very good whisky.

 

   

 

 

 

Speciality Drinks "Masterpieces", Laphroaig, 50.6% ABV

Distilled 2nd May 1996, Aged at least 10 years

PX Sherry Butt, one of 516 bottles

Original cost of this bottle  €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark copper with a hint of bronze

Nose: Just a hint of sulphur on the nose? Definitely a slight suggestion of Pirelli-ness. Come on now, surely not a suggestion of Brasso too? Ahh that's better, not comes a rather nice vanilla induced fruitiness. This is a strange one but not unpleasant.

Palate: The first thing I detect is the smooth, creamy mouth-feel, then chocolate with a faint coffee-ness and a salty freshness I can only describe as Atlantic driftwood.

Finish: Long, very long with a suggestion of oil of orange.

Overall Impression: What a combination of aromas and flavours, I particularly love that oil of orange on the finish.

 

   

 

 

Others

 

 

 

 

Laphroaig, 2007, 52.9% ABV

Cask 2534

Sorry, the only info I noted was that this is a club bottling

Original cost of this bottle  Unknown

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour Very pale watery yellow

Nose: Initial suggestion of a herbal fishiness which soon becomes very meaty. I'm thinking roast beef or a good steak. The herbal-ness is still present and suggests something like cumin or taragon. Eventually I'm taken back to my days in the gym and one particular meal-replacement protein drink.

Palate: An intense mouth-coating suggestion of meaty, smoky fishiness all in one! There's also an accompanying fruitiness akin to peach, mango and maybe papaya.

Finish: Long and fruity.

Overall Impression: Delightful and different especially with meatiness and fishiness.

 

   

 

 

 

Hepburn's Choice, Laphroaig 11y, 46% ABV

Bottled 2014, one of 151 bottles

Refill Hogshead

Original cost of this bottle  Unknown

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Very pale yellow

Nose: This comes across as a quite typical Laphroaig with notes of smokiness over salty, fresh sear air and iodine-like seaweed-iness. I'm immediately transported back to Islay.

Palate: Alongside the smokiness I'm sensing a mild fishiness which tingles across the palate.

Finish: Long and intense with fishy raspberries right at the end.

Overall Impression: Typical Laphroaig with a couple of a-typical nuances.

 

   

 

 

 

David Stirk, Laphroaig 14y, Oct. 1996, 50.8% ABV

"Exclusive malts" series, Cask 7317, one of 332 bottles

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Dram-atics Live (and blind) Review

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale straw

Nose: Cherry schnapps, smoke, wood and a good dose of Atlantic sea-air.

Palate: Lots of fruit alongside wood-smoke and faint peat.

Finish: Very long with equal amounts of fruit and sweet peat.

Overall Impression: I really didn't feel any need to add water to this sample which I tasted blind. It's an atypical Laphroaig but a most enjoyable one.

 

   

 

 

 

Coopers Choice, Laphroaig 1996

Further details unknown at the moment

Many thanks to Manfred for the sample

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Very pale, almost water-like

Nose: Now that's a surprise as it's almost fishy, but only very slightly so, then I notice a biscuit-iness or faint bread dough-iness in the background. Almost like morning coffee biscuits.

Palate: No biscuit-iness here as I experience a mild peaty smokiness with oodles (that's lots) of tropical fruitiness.

Finish: Long and expanding as it intensifies from nose to palate then even further into the finish, in fact it just keeps on going.

Overall Impression: I tasted this one twice and on the first visit I found everything more intense than on the second, but it's still good.

 

   

 

 

 

Wilson & Morgan, Laphroaig 21y, 1990-2011, 56.3% ABV

"Barrel Selection" series, cask 2351, bottle 212 of 215 bottles

Original cost of this bottle €€€€€ (right on the limit at €150)

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich amber, not quite treacle toffee.

Nose: A very generous portion of raisins and plums marinated in amaretto and served in a toasted oak basket. A hint of brandy snap too. An initial light smokiness expands with time in the glass.

Palate: Quite unusual here with a suggestion of richly sherried wood, gently smoky peat and an underlying fruitiness.

Finish: Long, rich and succulent.

Overall Impression: Excellent, truly excellent. I'm really getting to like the idea of sherried Laphroaig.

 

   

 

    Cadenhead, Laphroaig 20y, 1998-2018, 54.3% ABV

"Small Batch" series, two bourbon Hogsheads, one of 474 bottles

Original cost of this bottle €€€€€

 
  Glass Classic Malt

Colour Golden oak

Nose An initial massive suggestion of smokiness turns fruity (green apple)) and almost gently sour or bitter.

Palate Smoky fruitiness gives way to a delightful slightly salty maritime-ness.

4 Drops of water Sadly didn't do very much other than to dliute what is otherwise a fantastic whisky.

Finish Long.

Overall Impression This so much reminds me of a fantastic 'old school' Laphroaig, especially with the maritime elements. A true Great!

 

   

 

 

 

SMWS, Laphroaig,  13y, 64.1% ABV

Cask No.29.102, one of 353 bottles

Original cost of this bottle; Unknown

Dram-atics live review at SMWS Vaults

 
 

Glass: SMWS

Colour: Rich amber

Nose: Vanilla, cream and sherry. Then comes Crθme Brulιe and some quite herbal notes, dark cherries and yes, cordite!

Palate: Initially a dry rubberiness with cherries and raisins followed by dark chocolate, freshly ground coffee beans, damsons & plums.

With 4 drops of water: Some wonderful peppery coastal Atlantic notes now appear.

Finish: Long, very long.

Overall Impression: Not a peat monster although some peaty cordite is present, but this is a truly wonderful whisky.

 

   

 

     

The Perfect Dram, Laphroaig, distilled 1986, 23y, 60.9% ABV

Original cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich gold, amber

Nose: Quite fierce leather hiking boots in mid-Summer, walking through a field of honey.

Palate: Lots of alcohol, then fruit and peat. It needs water.

With 5 drops of water: The nose is definitely more aromatic with that honey field.

With 5 more drops: Wow, the nose really has opened to illustrate sea-shells in a peat bog, right alongside the Atlantic. The palate is still very intense.

With 10 more drops: The nose is now extremely aromatic Atlantic air and peat. The palate is really quite fruity (almost apricot)  peat and (wood) smoke.

Finish: Very long.

Overall Impression: Don't be shy with the water and this dram really will please! Very different and very enjoyable.

 

   

 

 

 

Hart Bro's, Laphroaig 18y, April 1990 - Dec. 2008, 46% ABV

"Finest Collection" series

Original cost of this bottle €€€€€

Reviewed as part of MMA 2011

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Extremely pale.

Nose: Leafy light rubber is followed just for a second or tow by a suggestion of milky baby vomit. Come to think of it this could be what peaty Ovaltine would be like?

Palate: Much more solid than the nose as a creamy peatiness expands to include red berries, then that leafiness leads into the finish.

Finish: Very long, leafy and peaty.

Overall Impression: A rather strange nose let this one down somewhat for me.

 

   

 

 

 

Archives, Laphroaig 1998, 54.2% ABV

Original cost of this bottle  €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale straw

Nose: Fruity (red & yellow fruits) earthy peat. After some minutes a light hint of rosemary develops in the background, but the fruitiness also expands to become very fruity peatiness.

Palate: That fruitiness of the nose just continues onto the palate with raspberry, peach and coconut all introducing the peatiness onto the palate. The peatiness steadily takes over reducing the fruitiness to the background. A hint of vanilla now appears too.

Finish: Long.

Overall Impression: That fruitiness is really quite amazing alongside the peatiness. This is a tremendous whisky with a quite different, but quite sophisticated character. I love it.

 

   

 

 

 

Anam Na H-Alba, Laphroaig, 14y, 52.9% ABV

Distilled 14.5.1998, bottled 17.8.2012, No.65 of 85 bottles

Bourbon Cask, Port finish

Original cost of this bottle  Unknown

Many thanks to Boris for this sample

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich oak with a touch of copper

Nose: Mildly fishy with hints of smoked ham. Reminds me of that German beer garden favourite; Steckerlfisch.

Palate: A butter-iness and cream-iness give the palate a really smooth mouth-feel along with definite hints of red wine, thanks to the port finish.

With 3 drops of water: The fish-iness and butter-iness have now disappeared leaving a much more traditionally smoky Laphroaig, but still with an emphasis on red wine.

Finish: Long.

Overall Impression: Not too keen on the Steckerlfisch but once I added water this was a much more traditional and enjoyable Laphroaig.

 

   

 

   

Limited Editions, Laphroaig, 18y, 54.5% ABV

Distilled 4.7.1979, bottled 9.1997, No.130 of 248 bottles

Cask No.5965

Original cost of this bottle  Unknown

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Very pale yellow gold

Nose: Mildly smoky with hints of leather and bread dough.

Palate: Intensely peppery tingle across palate but also with a flavour of something very floral but yet unidentifiable. It also has a very buttery mouth-feel.

Finish: Extremely long with that floral pepperiness.

Overall Impression: Laphroaig? It's hard to believe and if I had tasted this blind I would never have guessed, but that doesn't mean it's bad, just very unusual. I'm also not sure about that floral element as it's hard to place, maybe something along the lines of Hyacinth or even hydrangea.

 

   

 

 

 

A selection of photos from our distillery visit in 2013

 
 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

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