When I last visited Laphroaig Distillery in Islay, I had the opportunity to taste some amazing expressions straight from the cask that won’t ever see the market. One of these was a 19-year-old matured solely in sherry casks and close to 60 percent ABV. The experience was probably top 3 all-time in terms of whisky tasting. I was lucky enough to be allowed to bottle 200 millileters of it to bring back home.
Laphroaig is by far one of my favorite distilleries. Even though it is the biggest producer of Islay malts, it keeps using traditional methods like cutting peat by hand over using machinery. It still has its own floors to malt and dry barley, one of the rare distilleries to still do so in Scotland. When you visit, they will pour generously in your glass without snubbing you. Their tours are top notch. Oh, and they make some great whisky as well.
Still, when I got home and finished that 200 millileters, I was looking for a new Laphroaig. I didn’t want a regular release, even though I always enjoy a Quarter Cask dram. After looking around, I put my hands on a single-cask Old Particular release featuring Laphroaig. It was a 14-year-old edition offered by Douglas Laing for the Feis Ile in 2015. God, was I excited.
You don’t have to put your nose deep in your Glencairn to feel the absolutely perfect Laphroaig perfume. If you’re a peat enthusiast, this is what you want the room to smell like. Like any good Laphroaig, you will notice peat, earth and medicinal notes. If you wait for a few minutes, you can nose maybe some red berries. Definitely, you have Islay in a bottle here, and a sweeter-than-usual Laphroaig.
At the first sip, I feel like I’m having some smoked meat. Move it around in your mouth and you will feel the warmth and oily texture taking over. It’s salty, medicinal and peaty. Yet again, I feel that it’s sweeter than what I am used to from the distillery. Brilliant.
The finish is a long peated one, and do I need to say it again? Definitely some sweetness!
Damn! I wanted another sherry cask release from Laphroaig, and boy was I pleased. The combination is brilliant, and if you are a peated whisky fan, I don’t see how you won’t be pleased with the experience.
Nonetheless, the price point is steep for this particular release. Note that it was a Feis Ile edition, and based on that fact alone, the price is pretty much where it should be.
The salty and peated dram Laphroaig usually delivers is sometimes scary to non-peated enthusiasts. However, with the sweetness, this one should charm them. I’m more than two-thirds done with my bottle, and everyone who tried it was amazed.
If a woman offers you this dram on a cold winter night next to a fire, or for dessert after having some filet mignon, marry her.
Is it worth the price tag? To a Laphroaig fanatic, it absolutely is.
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In Omnia Paratus!
Your whiskey nutjob
|Location||Port Ellen, Scotland (Islay)|
|Founder||Donald and Alexander Johnston|
|Water Source||The Kilbride Dam|
|Stills||3 wash + 4 spirit|