SMWS 29.171 – Essence of Islay (20 year old Laphroaig)


Originally reviewed on reddit: 16/01/16

Another SMWS Laphroaig, an older one this time, distilled in 1995. I haven’t tried many 18+ Laphroaigs but was really excited to see what an SMWS bottling brings to the table.

Aged 20 years.  58.4%ABV. Matured in a refill bourbon cask. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from a single cask.

Nose: Roast meat with gravy. Smoked fish. Mustard seeds. Petrol. Salt. Leafy herbs, sage, spearmint. Germoline ointment. Hand laundry soap (the old school bar stuff). Dried citrus. With water some fruity notes and a rich woody note appear.

Palate: Campfire. Heavy medicinal note. Mineral salt. Becomes more complex with a little water. Tuna in brine. Salted corn. Honey and Lemon tea. A slightly dry fruity note (like a very dry chardonnay)

Finish: The dry chardonnay note is very pronounced now. Honey. Salty. Lots of ash. Bitter wood.

Would I buy this: Yes

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

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


The aggressiveness of this dram really surprised me considering its age. Not as ‘Laphroaigy’ as some other SMWS bottlings, but a very fine mature Islay.


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