Laphroaig 21 y.o. Review

Laphroaig 21 y.o.barry's place pics 069

53.4% abv

Score:  90.5/100


Here’s one you’re not likely to easily stumble across.  In fact, until a mate of mine so generously shared his stash, I had never even seen it.  I believe this release was primarily a travel retail, or duty free, exclusive.

Laphroaig, of course, is one of the sledgehammer peated malts from Scotland’s peat mecca, Islay.  All of the distillery’s expressions, at least in the approximation of this reviewers senses, are built on the same skeleton of deep earthy peat, strong medicinal notes and billowy smoke.  Atop all of this however, I always pick up on a very hard-to-eloquently-explain prickly ‘green’ note.  Kinda weedy…kinda dill-like…VERY awesome.  It generally delivers the sensual effect of a eucalytus, but without the same mintiness.

Peated whisky in it’s youth can be quite out of balance.  And that is not necessarily a bad thing.  If you’re drinking it for the enormous smoky notes and phenolic blast, this lopsided character is exactly what you’re looking for.  I do, however, want to offer up a quick bit of advice for the peat-o-philes out there.  While you may love that bold enormity of these younger whiskies, do not pass up any opportunity to try the aged expressions.  Over the years, as that peatiness begins to fade, you can find a breathtaking harmony as the fruitiness of the whisky begins to surface again through the waves of smoke.  That combination…magic.

Good whisky?  Betcher ass it is.  What else would you expect in a mature dram from a distillery that consistently releases great expressions.

Nose:  Farmy and medicinal.  Pepper.  Peat (mild, really) and smoke, of course.  Black and green ju-jubes together.  Saltwater taffy.  A little bit gummy.  Impressive how much fruit (white fruit) shines through the curtain of smoke and peat.  In line with the Laphroaig Cairdeas releases that have some aged casks in them.  Lemon zest-ish, but not fresh and vibrant.  More like…lemon polish.  Finally…Vicks Vapo-rub.

Palate:  Some candy notes…or maybe it’s fruit.  Hard to tell.  Either way, there is a sweetness here that is home-y and charming.  Prickly and peppery.  Much smoke.  Briny.  Wet rock.  Earthy and medicinal, as a Laphroaig should be.  That’s why we love ‘er.


– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

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