Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: N/A
Additional coloring: Yes
Average price: € 290.00
Official website: www.laphroaig.com
It’s with a certain excitement that I approach such a dated bottling, not because of the ageing itself but because of the age of the bottle itself.
In fact, thanks to the commendable Cheaper By The Dram, which provides samples from bottles that have grown exponentially in price (due to rarity or prestige), I was able to get my hands on several samples of less accessible bottlings.
Old doesn’t necessarily mean better, but when you often hear (especially for historic distilleries) that ‘this or that used to be something else’, having the chance to try it in person is a (small) privilege.
So let’s start with this Laphroaig, with the 15 year old that was part of their core portfolio for years, only to be abandoned for the 18 year old expression.
This bottling comes from the 1990s, and finding precise information on the casks used, colouring and method of filtration is very difficult: I have reported only what I have found sufficiently reliable, if anyone among you has further information I welcome suggestions.
Just by pouring it into the glass, the proudly peaty, maritime soul of Laphroaig invades the surrounding air. If you let it breathe, the olfactory profile softens, bringing out vanilla, dates, ripe pear and mango, with the medicinal soul of the distillate in the background, very quietly. Unusual but pleasant.
On the palate, the peat becomes more herbaceous and ashy, with the saline aspect intensifying, taking the aromas back to the ocean waves. Pinch of black pepper and ginger, with the sweetness always present but more tamed. Candied orange, liquorice and wood in the background. The balancing act between peat and fruit remains on the edge, but it works.
Medium-long finish of used ashtray full of salt water with candied orange flakes and liquorice.
A very unusual Laphroaig, completely different from those tried so far, with a gentleness and sweetness that are at times unsettling but well integrated.