Dram Review: SMWS 29.192 Laphroaig “A Gruff Yet Dignified Gentleman”

[58.1%・21 Years Old・Distilled in 1995 ・ Bottled in 2016 ・SMWS Bottling・Single Cask Release of 156 Bottles]

Nose:

An assertive pipe smoke sweetened by dark honey infusion. Tree gum with perhaps a drop or two of Worcestershire sauce as the oak gradually takes control.

Palate & Finish:

Softer on the palate, smoked bacon and barbecue smoke wrapping around the softness of the stone fruits, with a good old leathery tail.

The stately notes of leather and peat intertwine in the finish.

Thoughts:

Dignified and gentle, characters I wouldn’t have necessarily taken for a 90s cask; I can imagine Mr. Nick Offerman begrudgingly liking this. Rewarding and relaxing, almost scoring two stars for me.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Laphroaig Aged 10 Years Cask Strength Batch 11

Style: Crisp, Rich and Smoky

Nose:
Begins with a dose of caramel, brine and oysters. Strong hints of the sea as advertised, quite gritty, in a good way. Herbal spice coursing through the aroma and brings in lemon citrus and limoncello. Liquorice rods inserted in between, while boiled potatoes steaming in the heat. A fair bit of basil, Sichuan green chilli overtone. Salt and pepper seasoning the semi-dry aroma. Sweet glazed orange peels emerge towards the end.

Palate:
Massive burst of signature “Laphroaiggian” smoky citrus notes. Starts with a grapefruit crust, orange core and working downwards to lemon lollies and a liquorice base. The sweetness is thoroughly tinted with coal fire smoke. Strong herbal spice undercurrent. Then in comes the maritime influence again, sea salt lightly sprinkled on oysters Kilpatrick, which is buffered by a nice layer of lemon Aloe vera and creamy latte. Rich and oily. Another pinch of black pepper and shichimi at the back while the maritime notes linger on. Very nice.

Finish:
Waning lemon aloe vera with a distinct hint of bonfire smoke. Liquorice, coffee and cream to finish.

Thoughts:
Laphroaig 10 CS never disappoints me, this one, just like its predecessors, is as consistent as ever with an expression full of power, texture, smoke and flavour. Solid core distillate. It might sit slightly on the drier side (probably due to the lack of sherry or “sweet” cask), but in return it gives a certain crispness which injects an additional masculinity to the spirit. Very macho, very delightful. Love it.

☆ [Recommended]

[58.6% / Original Bottling / Aged 10 Years / Natural Cask Strength / Non Chill Filtered / 2019 Bottled / Batch 11 / Limited Edition / *+]

-Esmond

Whisky review: Laphroaig Càirdeas Triple Wood Fèis Ìle 2019

Style: Rich, Sweet and Smoky

Nose:
Powerful spice attack, not unexpected given the strength. Followed by distinct, elegant smoked plums and violet roots. Tar, wood smoke an plenty of salinity filling up the air. Plenty of olives, becoming quite meaty as the tone sinks lower – katsu ham, beef jerky and meat stock, which is rounded up nicely with a touch of herbal liquorice. Maraschino cherries rise up at the back, finish with a sprinkle of black pepper.

Palate:
Similar to what the nose suggested. Plum and dark cherries served in a smoke jar. Nice oily texture, abundant liquorice, pencil shavings and black forest cake with malt biscuits crumble embedded in it. Orange-citrus oil trickling down, gingerbread with ginger chunks and milk chocolate. Smoked sandalwood settling down at the back. Rich, powerful and delicious.

Finish:
More smoked sandalwood, plums and milk chocolate. A clean citrus and liquorice finish.

Thoughts:
I wasn’t a big fan of the regular Laphroaig Triple Wood but this cask strength version is a completely different story. Under the magnifying glass (or utilising better casks), it feels the triple maturation process has successfully tinkered the distillate and created a rich and robust expression with many twists and turns. Numerous layers creating a beautiful depth, powerful with elevated finesse, reasonably complex and very well balanced. Boy, I can drink this every night.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[59.5% 2019 Bottled Original Bottling No Age Statement Original Cask Strength Limited Edition **-]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Berry’s Best Laphroaig 1997 Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of La Maison du Whisky

[52.2%・18 Years Old・Distilled in 1997 ・Bottled in 2016・ Berry Bros & Rudd Bottling for La Maison du Whisky・Cask No. 66・ Single Cask Bottling of 240 Bottles]

Nose:

Ooo ah, a robust explosion of savoury spices and confectionary notes, brine and pepper, ground cumin and iodine alongside apple compote atop honeyed granola, a hint of heather flowers giving the pleasurable floral aromas in the background.

Palate & Finish:

Ahhh, such strength in the dram, a solid oomph of peat with a fiery underbelly, oily caramel and sticky honey with orchard fruits, syrupy pineapples and a touch of aloe Vera.

The dram closes out with earthy coffee ground and ample chocolate dust, extending long into a finish of rugged seaweed.

Thoughts:

An excitement to the senses, equal parts fiery, aggressive peat and soothing, rewarding fruits.

Sometimes you just need a dram like this to carry on, glimpses of peace amidst a ferocious war.

☆ ☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: The Nectar of the Daily Drams Laphroaig 20 Years Old

[52.8%・20 Years Old・Distilled in 1990・ Bottled in 2010 ・ The Nectar of the Daily Drams and The Whisky Agency Joint Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Robustly briny oyster shells on a rich eggnog base, seasoned with raw spices along with a bit of green malt vibe going on.

Palate & Finish:

Gooey egg tarts that come with a punchy peat, the brute of the spirit is met with some tropical feelings later on.

Gingery, earthy and leathery in the finish.

Thoughts:

A solid Roaig that packs a masculine rough edge, probably a great dram for camping I would imagine.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Laphroaig Càirdeas Master Edition (2010 Edition)

[57.3%・11 Years Old・Bottled in 2010 ・ Official Bottling・Limited Release of 5,000 Bottles]

Nose:

Peat, mud, sultana and soft pears, medicinal with mandarins and other dried fruits.

Palate & Finish:

Crisp barley sweetness with bubble gum and a burst of honey before a mid-palate of oily petrol and dried fruits takes over.

In the finish, seaweed, dried fruits and some nutmeg spices.

Thoughts:

A much more balanced Càirdeas that is entirely modern but gives a much sweeter than expected hit.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Laphroaig Càirdeas (2008 Edition)

[55.0%・NAS・Bottled in 2008 ・ Official Bottling・Limited Release of 3,600 Bottles]

Nose:

Seaweed and rock salt rubbed bacon under a heavy smoke with wee notes of limes and twigs.

Palate & Finish:

Jammy but fiery, peat, smoke and spices initially blanketing over the subtler notes of vanilla, oak and tropical fruits before a gradual return to a sweeter touch.

An earthy finish with dried Chinese herbs, salt flakes and chocolate dust, hints of sweetness and saltiness to go with the bitter tail.

Thoughts:

Pretty brutal but in a watching a front rower making a line break kind of way.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Laphroaig Unblended 15 Years Old

[43.0%・15 Years Old・Bottles Circa 1985 ・Official Bottling Imported by Larios Malaga・General Release]

Nose:

Soft white fruits with a fine brush of peat and a subtle seasoning of sea salt. Endearingly rewarding as the softness of white peaches and pineapples harmoniously vibes with the warming sensations of beachside seaweed and some diesel smoke.

Palate & Finish:

The gentle tarry note synchronises elegantly with the fruits, wonderfully constructed with honey and caramel drizzling on apples and pears as the peat slowly sips out.

Dried but rewarding, a long tail of summery tropical fruits lingering on with tarry peat.

Thoughts:

Brilliantly constructed, I could simply use a few profanities in lieu of saying that the era-specific terroir, that extra years of maturation and the body at that strength have all come together for this dram.

☆ ☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Clydesdale Laphroaig (Cask No. 5967)

[53.5%・18 Years Old・Distilled in 1979・Bottled in 1997・Clydesdale Bottling・Cask No. 5967・Single Cask Release of 222 Bottles]

Nose:

The heavy cowshed presence is surprising, hints of coal smoke, apple wood incense lingering above a wholesome, oily base of overripe pears, honey and malt.  Traces of iodine, white pepper and aged ginger cubes vaguely surface from the background.

Palate & Finish:

Certainly fares more like a period Laphroaig on the palate, a stunning mic of vibrantly juicy dates and earthy tar and peat.  Greek style sweet almond shortbread cookies and marzipan pears, with this striking sake elegance.

Grilled bell peppers bring about a subtler tail, dried fruits dipped in honey with some burnt toffee coated walnuts and chocolate drizzled coconut chips.

Thoughts:

Stunning aromas followed by an exquisite delivery.

Quite unlike the typical vintage Laphroaig expressions from the late 1970s, early 1980s in that it fares more like a Brora of all things.

Which is to say that I adore it thoroughly.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Laphroaig 1991 Vintage 23 Years Old

[52.6%・23 Years Old・Distilled in 1991・Bottled in 2014・Official Bottling・Limited Release of 5,000 Bottles]

Nose:

Yup, Christmas fruitcake and chimney ash, a bruteness from the peat, iodine spilling and tar burning, dark berries laced with cigarette smoke and rosemary seasoned lamb roasting in the background.

Palate & Finish:

Gooey mix of toffee, molasses and ripe figs, the tarry and minty notes make the delivery more interesting before the thickness sets in, much of the expected blackcurrants and prunes followed by a rush of pepper, rosemary and Sichuan spices!

Burnt sugar, crushed pepper and sticky toffee, a substantial finish.

Thoughts:

What more could one ask for out of an entertaining Sherried Laphroaig?

Just a gutsy dram that satisfies on many levels, strong Sherry meets solid peat and the interaction is well managed, spectacularly executed.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

Thank you Arishima San for sharing this whisky with us, it’s much appreciated.

-Nicholas