SMWS 29.188 Cowboy Beans (Laphroaig 17)


Continuing where I left off with my last post, I have got my hands on yet another Laphroaig from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.I’ve actually had this one lying around for quite some time, but was waiting for colder weather to dig into it.

This one was aged 17 years, in a refill ex-bourbon hogshead, so again, very spirit centric. Quite a low ABV and decent age, so we’re expecting some nice mellow peat here.

This one’s story is:

Have you ever tried sweet, spicy and smoky cowboy beans made with bacon, garlic, fried onions, ketchup, balsamic vinegar and smoked paprika, all in a pot simmering over a barbeque fire in the wild west (on a Hebridean island)? Someone needed medical attention with antiseptic, but then we all tucked in with thick slices of ciabatta. If you are into sweet and salty flavours you will enjoy this. If not, can I tempt you with a drop of water as it turned into a lamb, black pudding and mustard hotpot and how about finishing with pickled herring in a sour crème sauce.

Aged 17 years. 53.9%ABV. Matured in a refill ex-bourbon hogshead. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from cask 29.188.

Nose: Not what I was expecting. Quite rich malty nose, with that sweet peat note usually found in the very young Islays. Big note of sea spray. Honey. Lemon curd. Chemical smoke. Pomello. Grapefruit. Hints of new leather. Tear gas.

Palate: Bitter wood and dry leaves at first. Then a big wave of brine. More of that rich malt and sweet peat. Carbolic soap. Antiseptic. Something bready, bread with olive oil maybe. Dried fish.

Finish: Long. Soapy. Salty. Dried fish. Sweet peat. Coal dust. Quite drying.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: No

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

VFM: 1/5

Well it finally happened, an SMWS Laphroaig that I did not like. Tasting it blind I would never have guessed that this was a Laphroaig and it really felt much younger than it is. Some of the notes just didn’t gel well for me and it lacked the huge bold notes I love in the SMWS bottlings, the soapy notes and tear gas smell didn’t help either. Oh well, can’t win ’em all I guess.


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