Laphroaig Elements 1.0


Today's review is looking at the inaugural release in the Laphroaig Elements series.

For those not yet acquainted, the Elements series, as described by the distillery, is "here to celebrate all things imaginative and boundary-pushing in whisky making." Which in non marketing speak is “here’s our answer to the Ardbeg Committee releases.”

So, what’s the hook for release 1.0? Traditionally utilising two 5.5-tonne mash tuns to produce 11 tonnes of wort, Elements 1.0 incorporates an additional, singular 8.5-tonne mash tun This method pays homage to the distillery practices before the 1990s, when utilizing a single 8.5-tonne mash tun was the norm.

The other key difference is the treatment of the wort. Laphroaig is known for its semi-cloudy wort, which imparts a distinctive mix of fruity and smoky notes. However, for Elements 1.0, the production also includes 50% cloudy wort, known for its bold, heavy flavours and enhanced phenolic notes.

Laphroaig Elements 1.0

Region: Islay

ABV: 58.6%

Price: £170.00

The whisky itself was matured for an undisclosed length in bourbon casks. No details on the number of bottles released.

Nose

The nose presents with notes of coastal sea air, kippers with melted butter, burnt embers, porridge, mango, and dry earth. On revisiting, notes of thyme, antiseptic hibiscrub, candy necklace sweets, tinned pineapple chunks, and cherries are detectable. There’s something here that reminds us of Coal Ila. It’s definitely peated, but less so than a lot of Laphroaig releases we’ve nosed recently.

Palate

The palate is reminiscent of burnt sardines on a barbecue, smoked almonds, cigarette ash, simple syrup, aniseed, and s’mores over a fire, leaning more towards coastal influences rather than the typical medicinal character we expect from Laphroaig. Notes of spice from cloves and cardamom add warmth, which, while noticeable, is not unpleasant. The texture is notably oily. The finish has a medium length, with the sweetness and peat enduring throughout.

Nose (with water)

A few drops of water has brought out more savoury notes replacing some of the sweeter notes such as cherries, there’s also notes of peanuts, cloves, and damp clothes.

Palate (with water)

Contrary to the nose, the palate leans towards sweetness, revealing notes of orange peel, sugar paste, and sea salt. With dilution, it sheds some of its spicy character, yet retains a pleasingly oily texture. The finish persists at medium length, with both peat and sweeter notes continuing to linger. Overall, the palate has responded well to a few drops of water.

Conclusion

As avid enthusiasts of the distillery, our anticipation was high for what we envisioned as Laphroaig's response to Ardbeg's committee releases. However, with a price tag of £165, our continued enthusiasm for any future releases in the series hinged on this one significantly impressing us. Unfortunately, it fell short. While it's a decent dram, it becomes somewhat forgettable when compared to the truly exceptional offerings we know the distillery can produce. Despite this, we anticipate no great difficulty in finishing our bottle.

Score: 7.5/10

Value

£165 for a NAS release is sadly not unusual in today’s market. That still doesn’t make it value for money.

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  • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
  • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
  • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
  • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
  • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
  • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
  • 4 - Below average. Passable.
  • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
  • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
  • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.

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