Malt Mongers Israel Laphroaig Night

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I’ve been building up to this by posting all of my previous Laphroaig tasting notes (minus a few SMWS bottlings which I’ll post over the weekend). This past Wednesday night our whisky club, Malt Mongers Israel (MMI) met up again at the Milk & Honey Distillery. This time we got to sample some fine offerings from Laphroaig, minus some of the members who were lucky enough to be travelling to Islay for the Feis Ile. Aside from the fine whiskies on offer we also got to have an online Q&A session with John Campbell, Laphroaig’s distillery manager which some of the club members kindly organised. I’m sorry that I can’t share any of the questions and answers, but it happened while we were on the 16 and I was just too busy huffing its fumes to take down what JC was saying.

On the table were:

  • QA Cask
  • Provenance 8 Year Old
  • 16 Year Old
  • Old Particular 14 Year Old Feis Ile 2015 Edition
  • 10 Year Old Cask Strength Batch 6 (these notes are from an earlier sample reviewed on reddit :22/12/15)

Laphroaig QA Cask

This is a travel retail exclusive, and quite a veteran one, usually seen alongside the PX Cask. It was matured in ex-bourbon and virgin oak casks. Virgin oak is always a bit of a toss up, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

Aged 3 years*. 40%ABV. 

*for lack of age statement

Nose: Ikea, pine, chipboard, lacquer. Leather. Vanilla. Sticky tar. Medicinal peat. Bit of a sweet farmy note.

Palate: Thin. Medicinal Peat. Coal. Bitter wood.

Finish: What finish?

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: No

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: No (I’d smell it a little)

VFM: 2/5

This is probably my least favorite Laphroaig. The nose was quite nice, not great, but enjoyable, and then you take a sip and it just crashes and burns. The palate is just flat and the finish is just non-existent. I’m not sure if it’s just the low ABV that kills this or the virgin oak, it seriously just fizzled out before I could taste too much.


Provenance Laphroaig 2005 (8 years old)

This is a fairly young bottling from the Provenance range, 2 years shy of the distillery core 10 year old bottling, but non-chill filtered and 46% ABV, for extra oomph.

Aged 8 years. 46%ABV. Matured in a refill hogshead. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled from cask DM10406.

Nose: Very farmy. Earthy Peat. Grains. Rubber. Bit of a floral note. Salt. Cut slate. Lemon salt.

Palate: Not hugely complex but good. Rubber. Earthy Peat. White grape juice. Something sweet but grassy. Herbal honey.

Finish: Long. Rubber. Salt. Honey. Earth.

Would I buy this: Yes

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 4/5

This was a really wonderful dram. Not massively complex, but solid. Very bold flavours and a lovely rubbery note all the way through. The only issue for me with this one if the ABV. This really is a whisky that’s meant to be bottled at cask strength and I think the flavour delivery suffers for it.


Laphroaig 16 Year Old

This is another travel retail expression released by the distillery to celebrate their 200th anniversary. For some odd reason it was released in these silly little 350ml bottles. Why? Money. They were priced pretty high and people still flocked to buy them, so why shouldn’t the distillery do that?

Aged 16 years. 43%ABV.

Nose: A sharp peat, not the long undulating waves usually found in a Laphroaig . Big tropical fruit note. Lychee. Orange peel. Pomelo. Pineapple. White grape juice. Shortbread. Some pine sap appears after a bit.

Palate: Salty. Dry wood. Orange. Tropical fruits. There’s some herbal Peat but very muted.

Finish: Long. Very dry. Wood. Iodine. Bit of bitter fruit.

Would I buy this: No (Maybe if I could get a full size bottle at a normal price)

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 2/5

This was very different. The peat was not dominant here and the cask influence did some great work here. The nose on this was simply captivating, evident by me forgetting to not what John Campbell said, and a real treat of a dram. Laphroaig for the Summer.


Douglas Laing’s Old Particular Laphroaig 14 Year Old

The Old Particular Laphroaigs are generally known for being top class and this one in particular (see what I did there) was selected to mark the 2015 Feis Ile.

Aged 14 Years. 48.4%ABV. Matured in a refill butt. No colorant added, non-chill filtered and bottled from cask DL 10694.

Nose: Farmy. Vegetal Peat. Caramel. Grass. Nutty wood. Rubber. Tar. Salt.

Palate: Grassy Peat. Salt. Herbal honey. Lemon drops. Cake. Wet cardboard (dammit Richard)

Finish: Long. Apples. Paper. Salt. Very medical.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 3/5

This was a nice one. It was quite a gentle Laphroaig but it certainly has not lost its spark. A great example of the more refined profile Laphroaig can achieve without losing its identity.


Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength Batch 6

This is an annual, small batch release. I’m not sure if its casking is the same as the regular 10 year old, but the high ABV and lack of chill-filtration make it a very different beast.

Nose: It’s a Laphroaig! Mineral peat, leathery earthy notes. Dirty oily smoke. Brine. Iodine. Nutty woods. Woodspice. Lemon oil. Dry smoked fish (Dashi maybe?). Glazed meat. Struck flints. Coarse pepper.

Palate: Thick engine oil. Rubber. Fresh tar. Bitter citrus. A sticky gooey sweetness (like the drippings off of the glazed meat from the nose). Hot pepper. Salt. Herbal honey. Peppermint.

Finish: Gloriously long. Rubber. Oil smoke. Charcoal. Bitter wood. Thick cough syrup. Bitter liquorice.

Would I buy this: Yes

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 3/5

This was my favourite of the night. The absolute essence of Laphroaig, the real magic here happens on the palate with this huge oily hit of peat and salt and spice and all those lovely things that make you love Laphroaig and make non-whisky drinkers think you’re nuts.

 

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