Laphroaig 10 Year

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Class:  Islay Single Malt Scotch

Reviewer:  Andrew Owen

The Laphroaig Distillery, which is located on the southern coast of Islay, produces some of the most polarizing and unique whisky in the world.  Many love it and many hate it, but few remain neutral towards the whisky from this seaside distillery.

Laphroaig was originally established in 1815 and changed ownership a number of times before landing in the hands of Beam Suntory in the 21st century.  It is a large scale operation, with 3 active wash and 4 active spirit stills, but it still does a portion of its own floor maltings (the rest are done at the Port Ellen malting floors), and it ages all of its casks onsite where a complex of both dunnage and racked warehouses are nestled between the distillery and the sea.  All of Laphroaig's whisky is heavily peated using peat harvested from a local Islay moor, and all but certain special releases are aged in ex-bourbon casks of varying sizes and fills.  The 10 year is the distillery flagship and the youngest in the age stated line, although the distillery also releases a few NAS bottlings.

Notes:

  • Bottled at 43% ABV
  • Chill filtered, likely has caramel coloring added as well
  • Aged in ex-bourbon casks

Nose:  Unmistakably Laphroaig.  Filled with brine and soggy beachwood campfire and a salted, smoked meat note.  Its an aggressive aroma that you can smell from a couple feet away from the glass.

Palate:  Light, oily mouthfeel.  Again there is a full assault of brine/seaweed, peat, and smoked meat, but some malted vanilla and confectionary notes are able to peek through just enough to be detectable.

Finish:  Slightly sweet, the peat campfire lingers all over the mouth long after I’m finished.  This finish is LONG.  Luckily, the taste leftover is warm and friendly, a pleasant reminder of the liquid I just enjoyed.

Note about water:  A couple drops of water is preferred here to smooth away some rough edges.  Keep it to just a couple drops and the peat intensity is not affected.

Score:  77/100

Buying Recommendation:  Must try.  I fully believe that Laphroaig 10 should be part of the scotch education for every person with an interest in scotch whisky.  You may hate it, but you may love it.  Either way, your whisky adventure will not be the same once you try it!

 

The Rating Scale

At WBSE we use a true 100 point scale for scoring to allow whiskeys to further differentiate themselves (as opposed to a letter grade scale where 90% of whiskeys fall between 78-92).  This allows you to more easily compare scores between different whiskeys.  Here is how the scale breaks down:

1-49:  Varying degrees of bad

55:  Average

60-69:  Better than average

70-79:  solid/good

80-89:  excellent

90+:  truly exceptional

All thoughts and opinions expressed are original to the author of the review or article. We are in no way paid to express any specific opinion about any specific company or product.

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Publisher

All Time Favorite Whisky: Balblair 1990 2nd Edition

Daily Drinkers: Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel, Springbank 10 Year

A former craft beer enthusiast, Andrew fell in love with whiskey after tasting a pour of Laphroaig 10 year and being amazed that such a flavor could exist within a liquid. With a college background in biochemistry and a passion for history, Andrew quickly grew to love the science of whiskey making, the history of different distilleries, and the exploration of flavors within a dram. To Andrew, whiskey is more than just a drink; it is a fascinating mix of art and science – an intricate beauty to be pondered and appreciated. Besides this, Andrew has found that a nice bottle of whiskey has an amazing ability to bring people together and unite people from all different backgrounds together as friends.

While Andrew can be found drinking any style of whiskey from any region around the world, he has a particular affinity for spice-laden bourbons and coastal scotches. Besides drinking whiskey, Andrew also enjoys weight lifting, road biking, and cooking.

1 thought on “Laphroaig 10 Year”

  1. I love that one of my photos is featured for this. This Islay icon is one of my favorites. Very fitting. Great job, Andrew!

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