Laphroaig 18 y.o. Review

Laphroaig 18 y.o.

48% abv

Score:  91.5/100


Maybe I’m wrong here, but I’d guess there just may be something a little older than 18 in this Laphroaig.  I don’t think that happens much nowadays, but in ages past (errr…a few years back even) it wasn’t necessarily a rare thing to find some brilliant old whiskies being married with younger casks to strike a harmonic whole.

With single malt whisky experiencing the boom it currently is, every drop counts.  Especially the now virtually priceless drops of older stocks.  I’d venture that in current days your 18 year old whisky is usually no more than 18 years and 6 minutes before it is ripped from the cask and bottled for retail.  Yes, yes…I’m a cynic, I know.

Anyway…here we have an 18 year old Islay malt from the legendary Laphroaig that boasts a profile far surpassing the number on the bottle.  Pleasant surprises like these don’t come often.  (Hmmm…maybe that’s why there are a couple extra bottles of this on my shelf).

The nose is where evidence for my aforementioned theory on this malt is most prevalent.  Big vanilla and sweet tangerine.  Orange and chocolate.  Pear drops and bubblegum.  Black licorice jujubes…right outta the bag and sorta carrying the scent of the others as well.  Some sweet smoke and faded dirty peat notes.

Man…what a beautiful orange tang on arrival.  Back to pear and syrupy fruit cocktail.  Peat and smoke (but none too heavy for a Laphroaig).  Chocolate and Werther’s Originals.  A bit of tobacco pungency.  Finish is slightly drying, kinda lengthy, completely pleasant.

Laphroaig young enough and old enough to be in its prime.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

7 thoughts on “Laphroaig 18 y.o. Review

  1. Jeff

    Did you find this one closer in profile to, say, Ardbeg, than the big iodine bruisers that Laphroaig is known for? Any thoughts on the ppm here? Your review is obviously positive but, to you, is it a very different animal, with age, than younger expressions? My buddy, the Scotch Guru, and I opened one up over Christmas (rating it soon) and it was very good, but difficult to place without the raw “attack”. Cheers!

    1. ATW Post author

      Hmmm…good question. To be 100% honest with you I’d have to go back and try it with both some Ardbeg and Laphroaig releases. Wish I could give you a better answer. No two ways about it though…it’s a really nice dram.

  2. My Annoying Opinions

    I would say that this is a mellower, more refined Laphroaig (compared to the 10) but still very Laphroaig. Then again, who knows how well any of us would do telling these Islay distilleries apart when tasting blind.

  3. Joe

    I’m trying to get a gauge on the bottle reviewed and the new “modern” packaged 18. Anyone get a sense of any difference or is the new just as splendid with a sleeker looking label. Where I’m from the new bottles just arrived, but I can still get the old package – new or old or still exceptional? Thanks.

    1. ATW Post author

      Morning, Joe. Sorry…I’ve not yet tried the newer version. All whiskies eveolve, but I wouldn’t suspect that just because the packaging has been changed that the whisky would be drastically different.

      Lemme know if you get to try them side-by-side.

  4. Devin

    I was going to ask the exact same question as Joe, I cracked my green sleeved bottle a few months ago and found it to be absolutely splendid. Surpassing all expectations (had the bottle for a year before opening, but this was the first time I’ve ever tried laphroaig over 10 years old).

    Here in Onterrible the last time I saw the newer white sleeved bottle was about a year ago, but one popped up randomly in a store in toronto, so I quickly ordered it to one of my local stores and it should be here tommorow or friday.

    I was confident enough to buy it blind, but wondered if you had any thoughts on the newer bottlings…

    In response to Jeff’s question about comparing it to ardbegs I would say yes, the balance is much closer to the smooth, flowing feel of ardbeg, but not nearly as dry. This was mouth watering, sweet and as close to perfect as I would have imagined my closed bottle of laph 25 would be….


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