Back in November I was one of the chosen “Tweet Tasters” for a Laphroaig Tweet Tasting, organised by the non stop Steve Rush of The Whisky Wire. The lineup included their 10yo, Quarter Cask, Triple Wood and 18yo. With the QC being an old favourite of mine, I was interested to know how the other expressions fared in this lineup. It was a fun evening full of peat, medicinal goodness and great company.
Laphroaig 10 Year Old
Nose: Big, powerful and open. Strong heavy peaty notes
upfront, also spices, hints of liquorice and plenty of salty sea air. Sweeter than I remember, but big hits of the classic iodine we all expect. With some time in the glass, a slight sweet woodiness appears.
Palate: Oh I remember this first taste. Big sea saltiness leads the
way, before giving way to the TCP flavours coupled with vanilla. Fair
amount of oiliness with some delicate spices too.
Finish: Tarry notes are there, with lots of oak, iodine and smooth smoke.
Comments: It’s an old favourite of many, and there’s a reason for that. It’s not my favourite Laphroaig expression but it provides the peat bomb/medicinal whisky many crave.
Laphroaig Quarter Cask
Nose: More delicate, oily & sweeter than the 10yo. You get the dirty soot, coal and smoke, but my favourite note is the barbecue. A real clean ripeness here with hints of fruit, chocolate and cinnamon. Sometimes find myself just sticking my nose in a glass of this it’s that good.
Palate: Man I love this mouth feel. It’s so rich, full bodied and
gusty. It’s so big, yet soft on arrival. Toffee, malty, oaky & and
strongly peaty. Waves of coal and peat splashing about, balanced with warm sweetness.
Finish: Lingers nicely on the tongue. It’s long, beautifully sweet,
dense and ashy.
Comments: I’ve always enjoyed this bottling. I feel like my shelf is empty without a bottle of this. It started my love affair with Laphroaig and due to its lovely balance of sweat peat, smoke and ash, it will always be a favourite of mine.
Laphroaig Triple Wood
Nose: What strikes me most is the difference between this & the
10yo/QC. Straight away, the dusty sawdust note & woodiness makes
itself present. More oily again with some toffee too. I’m getting
vanilla with some sweet fruit & nuttiness. Some cool smoke too, but not lots. Seems that the woodiness slightly masks the heavier peat.
Palate: Strong and heavy on first sip (much more so than the QC).
Spice, wood and bits of fruit. You can tell this is MUCH more dry than the previous two also. The peat & smoke are still present here, but seem far subtler. The sherry notes really show their head, not only in the dryness, but the big fruitcake taste you expect from sherry notes. It’s interesting to have the blend of these fruitcake flavours balanced with Laphroaigs classic peat and smoke.
Finish: Dry dry dry….oh and quite oaky. The oil and slight spiceyness
hang around a fair bit, sitting on top of the musty sherry notes. Did I say dry?
Comments: Definitely darker in colour compared to the other too. The third maturation in Oloroso sherry obviously made a difference. This started out as a travel retail bottle, so it’s good to see they’re making it more accessible. It’s a different expression with lots to like…. I’m just trying to work out how much I like it….
Laphroaig 18 Year Old
Nose: Nice big start, you can tell this is one mature beast just
from first sniff. You get the standard Laphroaig notes of big peat and smoke, but it is balanced with some cereal and citrus notes. After some time in the glass it mellows out somewhat, revealing some menthol, apples and lightly smoked wood. I could nose this
Palate: Wow, I know why people rave about this one. I actually smiled on first sip. The mouth coating is great and is the
creamiest of all the Laphroaigs I’ve tasted. It is loud yet quiet,
powerful yet soft and angry yet completely calm. The extra years on this has really mellowed it out, whilst keeping the fieriness Laphroaig brings to its whiskies. Incredibly rounded throughout,
providing charred wood, spice, honey, vanilla, chocolate & some briny saltiness. This all provides a lovely base for the coal, tar & peat
Finish: Beautifully long, smooth and salty. Some liquorice, seaweed, orange & brine still hanging about.
Comments: This is a monster, but not necessarily the way you would expect. I find it less medicinal compared to its siblings. It is the gentle giant from Laphroaig. This
is gentler, softer, creamier, & more intricate than the others. Providing me with pure unadulterated whisky joy! (No chill-filtering &
at 48%…… what a bonus!)
What a great core lineup to have. Aren’t Laphroaig a lucky bunch. There is a reason why they are so popular, and that is down to the quality inside the bottle. If I *had* to rank the whiskies, I would put the Triple Wood last, followed by the 10yo and Quarter Cask, with the 18yo easily taking top spot. A beautifully aged whisky right there. I can’t wait to own one.