Laphroaig | 10 Year Old | 40 % | Buffalo Trace Bourbon Casks
Info: My very first review that I posted on r/scotch, about two years ago. I didn’t change anything.
Nose: slight sweet peat, iodine, salt, a hint of a combination of caramel and sour apples
Palate: on the tip of the tongue there is a hint of licorice sweetness but the presence of the phenolic (iodine/medicine-like) taste is dominating but quickly complemented by smoke and a kind of sweetish peat, under the smoke there is a hint of vanilla and oaky notes, maybe a bit of burnt caramel, slight silky mouthfeel and a very strong salty note on the sides of the mouth
Finish: breathing in enhances the smokiness; salt, caramel and vanilla notes slowly fade but do stay quite some time
Conclusion: A good Scotch to be enjoyed outside (imo the Laphroaig 10 really needs fresh air), ideally in company of friends and a camp fire. In an ideal world the Dropkick Murphys will be playing “Shipping up to Boston” while you enjoy the dram (or plastic cup). If none of the above is possible you could accompany the ‘Froig with Loreena McKennitt’s Troubadours on the Rhine or an older New Model Army album. I’d still recommend fresh air though.
Score: B or 87/100 (originally I scored it 84 because I wanted to give a somewhat neutral judgement, but hey it’s my party and I cry if I want to…
Other whiskies I reviewed from the distillery: here
Other whiskies with the same score: here
The full story behind the dram (if you’ve got the time for that…)
When it comes to Islay Scotches in general and especially Laphroaig there seem to be just two opinions – you love them or hate them. The guys at Laphroaig actually used that for a – imho – quite nice advertising campaign.
Associations found on Scotchit are also quite distinctive and often include things like burning socks, band-aids, a fishermen’s dentist’s office on fire, not made for human consumption and so on. A friend of mine once told me after his first sip that it is like drinking medicine out of ashtrays.
Or they are romantically idealized – just like mine. There seldom is something in between…
Before I take you on a journey I’ll briefly tell you how we met, the ‘Froig and me. As I’ve said before, this was the first. The. FIRST. Well, you know, at least the first one which had to be analyzed while being tipsy and being carefully watched by not less tipsy eyes belonging to colleges wanting me to spit fire or at least to say something very stupid. After a long day of vocational training we were sitting in the shadows of an old barn now being used as a bar, in a monastery garden on a warm summer night and as I was known to have a little knowledge on Gin I was poured a generous slug out of a green bottle into a plastic cup. Spiced with some encouraging glances (and giggling!) I was told that if I told them what I taste I’d be invited to their next tasting…And there it is, you’re supposed to say something smart and all you can think of is, „Can one really taste SMOKE?!“ Turns out one can. „And moor?“ (what I today identify as peat or rather a mixture of peat and oak). I still remember that funnily enough I said, “it’s definitely a single malt and not a blend” – even though I had no clue at all what the words mean, but I knew they were drinking whisky…A couple of sips from that plastic cup later, I was hooked. They’ve created a monster.
That’s why the review you’re about to read – or have already stopped reading as this is far too long as even I myself realized by now – is absolutely biased. That green bottle will always have a spot in my heart and in the cabinet, not in the vault though as it is quite a steal around here.
Well, if I recall correctly that first bottle looked (at least in retrospective it does look) like this only covered in barnacles and mussels. When I reach my hand out to it now, I still can feel the wind in my hair and the taste the sea salt on my tongue. Above me a seagull screams. Ah plot 678965, I can’t wait until I retire on this endless square foot…misty eyes travel over the heather waving in the wind and rest on the white wave crests breaking on the shore of Loch Laphroaig, on a clear day one could see Texa in the distance. But this is not a clear day and while the the wind whips the iodine impregnated spindrift into my face I can still hear the Kilbride plashing in background and smell the remaining peat on my worn out wellies. The memory of the warmth of the kiln drying fire slowly dies in the piercing wind but the smell of the smoke still lingers. The penetrating stare of a boy not older then ten years old brings me back to the here and now. Those eyes shouldn’t belong to a boy but to a face tanned by the tireless sun and furrowed by the wind and the sea. His threadbare clothes, his emotionless stare and and his flat cap hat over his dirty face make him look like John Millington Synge created him. His calloused hands, grubby with wet black soil tell the story of a man much older than him. He slightly cocks his head and eyeballs me disparagingly. Then he spits out, silently his cold hand grabs mine and drags me into the moor…I wonder where he takes me this time…