Saturday, 14 January 2017

Laphroaig Fest

I've been meaning to do a side by side tasting of my two Laphroaigs for a while, then a sample of the Select, from my mate Andy, gave me three to compare! So without further ado here's my thoughts on the 10 years old, Select and Quarter Cask.

On pouring these three drams the whole room filled with a smell of smoke!


Distillery : Laphroaig
Whisky : 10 years old

Presentation : Card tube with metal ends, some distillery information; green bottle with cork stopper, some whisky information.
Source : Duty Free (a number of years ago)
Price : Now on offer in Tesco/Asda for £25 for the 70cl 40% ABV

Characteristics : 1l, 43% ABV, Chill Filtered 😒, Coloured 😒
Box/Bottle Information : "In the making of Laphroaig, malted barley is dried over a peat fire. The smoke from this peat, found only on the island of Islay, gives Laphroaig its particularly rich flavour."

Colour : Deep Copper (looks great but is artificial).
Glance : Oily, leaves thick trails when swirled around the glass.
Nose : SMOKE, SMOKE and more SMOKE! With oil and seaweed. (With a little water there is also a faint hint of sweetness)
Palate: Iodine hits you straight away with seaweed and a little liquorice. (With a little water the sweetness comes through in the taste).
Finish : Long, lingering smoke.
Link : Laphroaig 10yo.



Distillery : Laphroaig
Whisky : Select (NAS)

Presentation : Green bottle with cork stopper, some whisky information.
Source : Sample from Andy
Price : Now available in Tesco/Asda for £33

Characteristics : 70cl, 40% ABV, Chill Filtered 😒, No colour 😀
Box/Bottle Information : "This special Laphroaig is created from carefully selected casks of each of our key styles, stretching back in time - with one notable addition.  The heart of the spirit is drawn from a final maturation in new American Oak casks, rarely used for Scotch Whisky maturation. Bottled at natural colour, the result is an exquisite Laphroaig with our trademark 'peat reek' matched by an additional layer of complexity and depth brought about by the fusion of the Maturation styles and different casks."

Colour : Deep Gold (slightly paler than the other two but genuine).
Glance : Oily, leaves thin trails when swirled around the glass.
Nose : SMOKE, quickly giving way to fresh porridge and faint fruity pear drops. (With a little water the pear drops seem to disappear and the porridge comes through more).
Palate: Lots of vanilla, Brazil nuts and ashes. (With a little water a toffee sweetness shows itself).
Finish : Medium, smokey and very dry.
Link : Laphroaig Select.


Distillery : Laphroaig
Whisky : Quarter Cask (NAS)

Presentation : Card tube with metal ends, some distillery information; green bottle with cork stopper, lots of whisky information.
Source : Christmas Present
Price : Now available in Master Of Malt for £38

Characteristics : 70cl, 48% ABV, NCF 😀, No info on colouring 😒
Box/Bottle Information : "The additional oak influence creates a soft sweetness and velvety feel when first tasted, then the intense peatiness so unique to Laphroaig, comes bursting through. The finish is very longs and alternates between the sweetness and the peat."

Colour : Deep Copper (the same colour as the 10yo which could indicate Colouring?)
Glance : Oily, leaves thick trails when swirled around the glass.
Nose : Smoke & more Smoke (not as intense and the 10yo), oil, seaweed, lemon, raisins. (With a little water a sweetness of pear drops comes through).
Palate: Iodine, oily, creamy. It's smooth but feels very heavy, the smallest sip seems to fill your mouth, a chilli burn finish. (With a little water the sweetness comes through in the taste and actually makes this a better malt.)
Finish : Surprisingly short, then unexpectedly, come back for a longer smokey, dry finish.
Link : Laphroaig Quarter Cask.

Overall : Wow - smoke! I liked all three of these even though I'd promised myself I wouldn't like any NAS malts. The 10yo is the typical taste of Islay, peat smoke and seaweed on the nose, the other two share these characteristics but not to the same extent. The Select's porridge is surprisingly nice and probably comes from it's marriage of 6 different cask types. The Quarter Cask seems more complex and, with the addition of a little water, adds yet another layer.
My overall favourite was the Quarter Cask with the added water but the 10yo was not far behind. From what I've read the Select is a marriage of 5-11 year old whiskies from 6 different cask types and whilst I was wanting to dislike it (as an NAS) it was surprisingly good - not a typical Islay Peat Monster but good never the less!

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