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