Laphroaig 10 y.o. Cask Strength (Batch 002)
About time we had another run at Laphroaig, aye? Any opportunity to butt heads with this bludgeoning, lumbering beast is a welcome respite from the mundanity of day-to-day.
While some may fret at the lack of consistency in single cask or small batch bottlings, I love ’em. There’s an element of excitement and anticipation since, to crib everyone’s favorite Gump-ism, y’never know what you’re gonna get. There’s no room for stagnation. And yes…I get that it’s nice to have a few go-to dependable drams, but at the end of the day…life is short. I like change.
Enough drivel. Here’s Batch 002 of Laphroaig 10 y.o. Cask Strength. And, as expected, it’s an elemental monster. Laphroaig releases are never really a surprise (until you discover the depth of fruits in some of the older expressions, that is), but they’re also never really the same from release to release. There’s a framework, or skeleton of course, but the dressing is always a little different, much like Ardbeg. These minor tweaks and quirks are what keeps me coming back to what is arguably Islay’s most unrestrained peat monster.
Further…it’s hard not to give Laphroaig a bit of extra credit when most of their releases are bottled at 48% abv or higher, but taking that additional step in bottling at barrel strength elevates my appreciation a notch further. It’s a dram made for those who appreciate bold flavours and intense experiences. This natural, naked state is what whisky should be.
Pretty sure Batch 001 was just slightly better, and I also recall several drams of Batch 004 really warming our rainsoaked selves at the distillery a few months back, but that doesn’t diminish the impact here. This is a damn fine whisky. If you can find it…buy it.
BTW…not really certain how exactly the batch numbering works with these Laphroaigs. As you can see by photo above, this is a Batch 002 at 56.3% abv. I have also seen Batch 002 releases at 58.3%. Ummmmm…ok. Wouldn’t that inherently make it a different batch? Any clarification that anyone out there can provide would be greatly appreciated.
Nose: Peat n’ pepper. Briny and fishy notes. Smoke, o’ course. Iodine, and yes…medicinal notes. Lemon and lime. Rubber bands. Green ju-jubes. Slightly flinty. Surprisingly sweet. Salt licorice.
Palate: Smoky and sweet and lots of peat. Tar and rubber…like bicycle tire. Some sweet sherry notes, methinks. A little bitter. Licorice again with a LOT of lemon. Fennel and green apple skins. Turns slightly white wine-ish on the palate. Very, VERY lingering.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt
I assume before the batch #’s, they originally had the green label followed by the red label. I have only tried the red label, (just confirmed) 55.7% abv, and found it nothing short of remarkable. I’ve had a couple sessions with this and the 18, side by side, and whichever one I had last was the best.
Timing to this review is ironic – I did a little whisky run yesterday and, to my surprise, batch 4 was in front of my face (no complaints at $65) – it will have to wait – painful.
Mine was 58,3% too, Jan 10. It was a bit rough for me at that time.
Curt! Surprised you took so long to get to this gem! Unfortunately I finished my batch 2 about a year ago. Great whisky! Start out neat and slowly add water over an hour (or more!). Becomes more creamy with water and time. I wish I could find another, as I don’t think the #3 is quite as good (but still very good). Best Laphroaig I’ve had yet and well worth the money! Skip the regular 10 and get this! Remember it is cask strength, so from an ABV level it is worth the money. And it is a much better whisky, even is you dilute it to 40%.
Wrote up Batch 001 A while back. It’s here on the site under Laphroaig. I have a bottle of the Batch 003, but have yet to crack it open. Will let you know if I’m in the same camp as you regarding a preference for 002 over 003.
I should note…we can’t get this stuff in Canada. I’ve brought my bottles back from the US. Really frustrating, as I agree with you. It’s a great whisky.
I’ll be interested in your take on the 3. I can get Batch 4 only now, but some notes I’ve seen indicate it is also good. Best point is it is $55 BT, which is only $10 more than the regular 10 and much less than the 18 or 3 wood. QC is about the same price, and though I really like it, CS is the better deal.
Sucks you can’t get it there. What the heck is the reason?
Not really sure, to be honest. We have 10 y.o., QC, 18 y.o., 25 y.o., Cairdeas, Triple Wood, etc. No 10 CS though. Boggles the mind. Hopefully someone from Beam reads this and fixes this problem.
Checking back to see if you ever tried any other batches. The 007 is pretty good and has improved slightly since being opened. I’ll let it go a bit longer before I do a HTH with Cairdeas 2016 (which is really good).
I’ve only tried 1, 2 and 4. Sadly these are not available in Canada. Fortunately I’m heading back to Islay in just over a week. Hoping to try (and buy) and couple more if opportunity presents.
I recently got my hands on a batch 7. I have a friend in the states that can get these for under $60. I have not yet tasted it.
Does anyone know if or where these can be found in Canada?
I asked the LCBO and they said they cannot request it, the company has to offer al allocation to them. I then contacted Laphroaig’s agent in Ontario and they said they can’t request an allocation unless they get a request from a buyer…. Chicken -egg, might as well go vegan…
Good luck. Been trying since 2009 to get it into Alberta. No dice.
I can’t get Amrut nor most independents, so we both have our issues with local authorities. So far the bottle seems to be opening up little by little, so I’ll let it sit longer before evaluating in detail. Decent stuff, though. I’d like to pick up some of the 18, but it seems to have disappeared. Smooth and elegant Laphroaig. I’ll miss it.
It just dawned on me that on the last trip to liquor I only bought Beam products; Laphroaig CS, Booker and a mini of Makers Mark (in a fish bowl at the checkout). Strange, since I really don’t like Beam.
I think the 18 is an endangered species. I fear I may live my whole life without tasting it…
Last time I had it was 6 months ago. I was at a convention and a friend wanted to buy me drinks after dinner. We go to a high end bar and he forces me to pick one off the top shelf. After several minutes of back and forth, I finally said okay and ordered the 18, which I knew should be the least expensive compared to the Macallan 18 and 25, HP 25, etc. We sat down and drank and talked for a couple of hours with him ordering me two more rounds over my objections. Finally he got the bill and was flabbergasted that they were $20 each pour! I said I had warned him, but appreciated his generosity, as they were wonderful drams. Now I may never get to taste it again! Oh well!
BTW, don’t worry about my friend. He recently finished up building a million dollar lake house. And I’ve made many millions for his company over the years as a consultant.. Good guy though.
That’s a good friend.
My hunch is that ALL whiskies are variable to a certain degree—many to a pretty high degree—and it’s only in the explicitly batch-labeled ones that most people look for the difference.
Victor over on Connosr, for example, will describe the ups and downs of the various batches of pretty much ANY whisky he’s tried over time. Just off the top of my head, I know those “good and bad batch” discussions have ranged from things that are explicitly batch-labeled (like Laphroaig 10 CS and A’bunadh) to things are secretly batch-labeled (like Springbank 12 CS and Ardbeg Oogie) to mass-market things that supposedly always the same (like Jameson and Jack Daniels #7).