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.
- 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.
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
60-69: Better than average
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.