One of the perks of doing the Distiller’s Wares or Water to Whisky tours at Laphroaig distillery is that at the end of the tour you get to bottle a 200ml bottle of whisky from one of three casks. I chose this gorgeous stuff distilled in 1998 and matured in a refill sherry hogshead.
I made a bloody great mess with the valinch trying to draw this from the cask, but in the end I walked away with a lovely little bottle and about 3 drams in my belly and was very happy with my decision.
I was also happy because one of my favourite bottles of whisky that I’ve ever had was a 1998 Laphroaig single cask bottling from Signatory that was also matured in a refill sherry hogshead, and this really reminded me of it.
I was thinking a bit about my trip to Islay this weekend and was nipping away a little at this stuff, as I have been doing despite the hot weather, and figured I may as well pour a slightly more substantial dram and take some notes.
Aged 18 years. 59.3%ABV. Matured in a refill sherry hogshead. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from cask 700040 by yours truly on 7 July 2016.
Nose: Typical Laphroaig nose. Mineral peat. Rubber. Medicinal notes, loads of iodine and seaweed. Salty caramel. Some grapey notes, particularly grape flavouring. Coal dust. Dunnage. Scorched apple.
Palate: Salty. Smoked fish. Ash. Bitter citrus. Burned grains. Bitter wood. Light vanilla. White pepper. Woodspice.
Finish: Long. Water-extinguished campfire. Bitter wood. Acacia sap. More grape flavouring. Coal dust.
Would I buy this: Yes
Would I order this in a bar: Yes
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes
This is a lovely one. The sherry is not dominant due to it being a refill cask but it is there to add some extra dimension to the Laphroaig character which is always impressive at cask strength. The peat is still very present here but the aggressiveness has been slightly toned down by the aging.