Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex Bourbon Firsr Fill and European Virgin Oak
Additional coloring: Yes
Average price: € 99.00
Official website: www.laphroaig.com
It’s been a long time since Laphroaig has been missing from these pages, having been one of the first whiskies reviewed by yours truly in two of the basic expressions.
And this time we cover a special edition, released in April 2017 to honour the distillery’s two centuries in business and all the Master Distillers who have helped create its tradition, right up to current Distillery Manager John Campbell.
Initially available only on the Global Travel Retail market, this bottling presents a novelty for the distillery, namely refinement in virgin European oak casks (the so-called Hogshead casks, smaller than those normally used, of 300 litres), while the former Bourbon casks have been “heavily re-carbonised”, as the company itself states.
Inexplicably, added coloring was used on the whisky to give it its very pleasant amber appearance. A pity.
The nose immediately welcomes the peat, very full and round, more marine than medicinal, which soon gives way to a pleasant sweetness: sultanas, ripe apples, marzipan, a touch of chocolate. At the bottom, a light layer of ash and cloves.
The mouthfeel is very oily, with the smokiness immediately enveloping the palate with barbecue tones on which they have also grilled some ripe fruit (everything tastes better on the grill, a bit like fried food). The peat is clearly dominant, salty and incinerated, overturning the balance of the nose to my personal disappointment: all the sweet and fruity aromas seem to have been tarnished, flattened into a somewhat boring and monotonous profile. A light spicy note returns, accompanied by wood, which in the long run is the most noticeable element, almost as if it were the only concrete contribution of the European Hogshead.
The finish is medium, with wood, ash and fruit, very dry.
For a celebratory bottle, they did a pretty good job (spoiler: sarcasm): not an unpleasant but boring dram, and considering the price, totally avoidable.