By no means can Laphroaig be considered a subtle dram. Its reputation as one of the most defining and polarizing single malts in existence is not without merit. Even the more readily available expressions in the Laphroaig line-up (Quarter Cask and 10 year old) are enough to have some swooning and some bolting. Taking this self-same malt from the isle of Islay up to cask strength (51% abv) only helps to reinforce this characteristic might.
But then again…who needs subtlety? There are enough bland and homogenized whiskies bending the shelves worldwide. Whiskies such as this, with its profoundly jagged and flavor-filled profile, should be embraced and, when the occasion calls for it, revered. There is just no way around it. This is an enormously aggressive whisky.
Nose: Smoke, licorice and peppered greens. Some lime, mild chocolate and fresh tropical fruit. Sweet unidentifiable fruits carried over, I’m sure, from the Oloroso cask. Dry grainy/cereal notes come through as it opens up and the initial bite retreats a little. There is also a wee bit of caramel adding some smooth sweetness. Tack on the typical Islay profile notes of peat, fishiness and iodine and you pretty much have what I’m getting on this one. Quite a busy one.
Palate: There is a peppery bite on first sips. An odd and fleeting hint of red licorice as it first crosses the palate. The caramel notes absolutely do not carry over to the palate, however the chocolate does, and carries a hint of honey. A great delicious briny tang puts down roots as well.
Thoughts: Not a lot one could drink after this in a sitting. Most likely a malt you want to close your evening with.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt