Today we're looking at a duo of Laphroaigs, including a 10 year old from SMWS and an older Cairdeas release from 2013.
SMWS 29.284 (Laphroaig - Let’s go Dutch)
This release from the society was distilled on the 22nd of April 2010, and was matured for 10 years in a 2nd fill ex bourbon barrel before being bottled at a 62.2%. 217 bottles were released.
Initially on the nose there's some smoked mackerel, seaweed, tar and a little honey syrup. Giving it some time and air reveals cold butter that’s just been taken out of the fridge, some kiln smoke, fennel and a note that reminds us of a tracker bar. Promising start on the nose.
There’s an initial hit of vanilla essence and limoncello, but these sweeter notes die quickly and are replaced by a spicy long finish. You can definitely taste the ABV and it to be honest it smacks you in the face. There’s a lot of cracked black pepper and chilli here. Giving it a little air and you can pick out a winey floral note on the mid palate. The smoke comes through as charcoal. Not terrible but too hot for us. Hopefully water will help.
Nose (with water)
It’s now soapy on the nose. There’s also a musty note like we’ve entered an old dusty attic that’s went to long without having a window opened. There’s also some old spice aftershave immediately followed by a touch of smoke then by a hint of lemon.
Palate (with water)
The smoke is now more in balance with the sweetness / floral notes which don’t disappear as quickly. The reduced palate has lost some of the heat but it’s still a little too much for us. This still has a long finish and there’s more sweetness, but the after burn is still the last thing you taste. There’s also a slight burnt note on the finish that we’re not huge fans of.
This benefits from water, but not enough to make it anything more than a slightly below average Laphroaig. Saying that even a below average Laphroaig is still pretty good.
Laphroaig Cairdeas (2013)
Price: £200.00 (Auction)
The bottling was released during Feis Ile 2013, it was matured in bourbon casks for eight years prior to being finished in port pipes for 14 months.
Quite sweet on the nose with caramel, burnt strawberries and marshmallows as the first notes we getting. There’s only really a hint of smoke here which is coming across to us as ash and charcoal, but that’s it. Nosing it again after some time and there’s a little honey and some iodine. Quite tame for a Laphroaig, but not unpleasant.
Unlike the nose, the peat is more dominant here. There’s salt, TCP, and burnt oak. The sweet notes show as raisins, red berries and sultanas. Medium length finish on this with the red fruits lingering. It’s a very smooth dram, and doesn’t taste its ABV. We were expecting more port cask influence on the palate given the nose, but while it’s there it’s well integrated with the spirit.
Nose (with water)
On the reduced nose the smoke becomes even harder to pick out. Now the dominant notes are more like treacle, we’re getting toffee brittle, and hard caramel candy like Werther's originals. Going back to it again and we can pick out a meatiness like Bovril, and barbecued beef.
Palate (with water)
The reduced palate is still very smoky / ashy to the point its like inhaling an ash tray, but it’s also now lost most of the fruit notes. There’s a fishy note here now, but we don’t think that this gains anything from the addition of water.
This is tricky to rate on our usual scale as your definitely not getting this at RRP. While this is not worth the auction price it’s still a solid dram. At current auction price this would be a 7/10 for us, but if it was released this year at current Cairdeas pricing it would be an easy 8/10.
- 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
- 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
- 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
- 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
- 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
- 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
- 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
- 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
- 2 - Pour it out
- 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.
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