Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex Bourbon, ex quarter cask and ex-Sherry Pedro Ximénez
Additional coloring: Yes
Average price: € 82.00
Official website: www.laphroaig.com
Laphroaig is immediately recognisable.
Its notes of iodine and seaweed, its ‘medicinal’ scents that bring to mind hospital gauze, mouthwash, antiseptic, are so particular that in a hypothetical blind tasting even a casual drinker would have no difficulty in guessing it. A slogan from a few years ago read: ‘You either love it or you hate it’. That’s right: Laphroaig is a whisky designed to divide.
And today, standing in front of a dram of Laphroaig PX Cask Triple Matured, we ask ourselves: what happens when an extreme, angular whisky with a strong character meets a cask that has hosted a natural sweet wine like Pedro Ximénez?
This whisky, designed exclusively for the Travel Retail market and available in several online shops, is the result of a unique process: triple maturation.
After resting for an unspecified period of time in the classic ex-bourbon barrels, the distillate is transferred to smaller casks, the quarter casks of 125 litres. Smaller casks mean faster maturation. Ageing concludes with a passage, again for an unspecified length of time, in ex-Pedro Ximénez first fill European oak casks (i.e. filled for the first time with whisky after housing the Sherry). Bottled at 48% ABV, Laphroaig PX Cask Triple Matured is not chillfiltered.
The colour is a warm gold.
On the nose, the attack is unmistakable: a tray of bacon that would suffice for a week’s English breakfast, a marine note of seaweed and salt, and a “medicinal” scent that are the signature of Laphroaig, an acrid cigarette smoke that settles in the throat. But as the minutes pass, different fragrances emerge with increasing intensity: the sharpness of lemon meets the sweetness of sultanas on an intriguing base of eggnog. And we even get an impression of mochaccino which, surprisingly, remains as a memory in the empty glass several hours after tasting. A dynamic, complex, high-level nose.
In the mouth, on the other hand, despite the unusual roundness of the whisky, the richness of its nuances diminishes considerably: the marine notes of seaweed and salt, the hint of bacon and a pinch of white pepper meet no obstacles, while a really shy sultana watches from afar.
The medium-length finish is still very very marine.
On the one hand, a thrilling olfactory profile, in which the influence of the former Pedro Ximénez casks appears perfectly calibrated. On the other, a palate in which the arrogance of Laphroaig eats (almost) all the nuances. The result is an evocative whisky, at times recommendable, but slightly below expectations.