As a prelude leading up to Single Cask Nation’s Whisky Jewbilee
in two weeks I’ll be reviewing a few samples that were generously provided by Jason Johnston-Yellin. If you haven’t gotten your tickets to this wonderful event, you should use this “nyheart13”
discount code to get 10% off! You don’t have to feel guilty for spending $100 on a whisky event, some of the ticket proceeds will go to a non-profit providing free breast cancer and ovarian cancer support services.
Laphroaig is one of the most well known producers peaty and smoky Islay style whiskies. Their distillery is known to have smaller than normal stills which is credited with producing the heavy and rich Laphroaig spirit. Lately Laphroaig’s highly coveted older spirits have become increasingly prohibitively expensive. Older Laphroaig’s are rare and hard to find. Recent official Laphroaig bottlings have been around 10 years or younger (e.g. Quarter Cask, QA Cask, Triple Wood, etc.). However, the quality of Laphroaig’s distilling methods has proved to be very good since their younger whiskies are holding their own against whisky two to three years older.
Keeping with this theme, Single Cask Nation has decided to bottle the youngest Laphroaig I’ve ever seen – a six year old. The spirit was distilled in November 2005, aged in a refill bourbon hogshead and bottled in April 2013 at a robust 57.8% ABV. The hogshead yielded 269 bottles. It’s interesting to note that this spirit was aged in a hogshead rather than than a typical barrel. Hogsheads can hold the volume of two barrels which means that this spirit had less interaction with the oak than it would’ve had if it were aged in a barrel. Less interaction with oak means less flavor pulled from the barrel during the short six year aging process.
See detailed history of Laphroaig here.
Nose: powerful, antiseptic, peat, smoke, mouth watering, charred wood
Mouth: hits like a freight train, full smoke integration, spicy, barbecue, HOT, lighter fluid
Finish: spicy, salty, flavorful, STRONG, burnt toast, burnt rubber, mouth numbing, the finish makes you hesitant to take another sip, motor oil
Verdict: Wow, what a scary Laphroaig. I was scared to take another sip after the initial taste. Don’t get me wrong, I love heavily peated Islay whiskies, but this one was straight motor oil. After braving three sips, I added some water which made the dram much more palatable. This whisky is Laphroaig in it’s rawest and boldest form. One could argue that this is a ‘pure’ Laphroaig, but I’d argue that it’s an unrefined one. The mouth numbing finish is reminiscent of burnt toast which is not a pleasant flavor. I think this spirit could’ve used some extra time finishing in a sherry cask. Glad Single Cask Nation is working hard to bring over uncharacteristic whiskies, but I respectfully disagree with them on this spirit.