Peatheads, rejoice! Another young cask strengther to sink your fangs into. The peat, smoke and briny medicinal characteristics that so define the Islay whiskies tend to severely polarize drinkers. Mostly the noobs, I believe. An acquired taste? Perhaps. Regardless, these scents and flavors are massive and unmistakable. For the uninitiated palate this can be quite a challenge. For those of us who like a little smoke and fire in our glass…this one’s for you.
Laphroaig’s flagship expression is their 10 year old. Though unquestionably great as bottled, the 10 year is somewhat neutered by being bottled at 40%. This beefier version of the 10 year throws ocean winds and sea spray all over your campfire as expected, but also offers a diverse palate of notes to provide a spectrum of nuances.
First of all, make no mistake…this is Laphroaig. Burning stacks of peat, smoke, and citrus sit up front. This prickles at both the tongue and nostril with sharp peppery notes and anise. Some mild, but pleasant, cacao…a hint of pickle (?!)…some dust and spice. I find it has a sort of cured meat quality as well.
This whisky is enormous. It lingers in a way only Laphroaig can and leaves a hazy veil of peat reek over everything in the room. Mouthcoating…sharp…and with a delicious burn on the tongue. I would suggest it be tried neat before adding any water. You simply don’t mess with a dram like this.
One final note…even though this is bottled at a respectable 57.8% abv, I find it has a subtlety that eclipses the Laphroaig Quarter Cask. Where the QC is raw and jagged, this is a little more polished. Personally I prefer the QC.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt