Well, I got done my work earlier than expected this evening, so I am rewarding myself with a whisky review of one of my favorites. I’ve had tried several bottles of this batch at my local watering hole, and I think I have done enough reviewing to preach the goodness of batch 004 of Laphroaig 10 yr. Cask Strength. This batch was distilled in 2002, bottled in January 2012, and it is non-chill filtered at 116.6 proof (58.3% abv).
This Scotch whisky carries an interesting story with it. During Prohibition in the United States, Laphroaig was still allowed to import their whisky at its cask strength as cough medicine because the United States government deemed the whisky too strong and medicinal to be consumed recreationally. However, in the new whisky market, the consumer’s palate has shifted to stronger, powerfully flavored whiskies, and Laphroaig fits that bill perfectly. (Note: This stuff is plenty strong enough to be used as cough medicine, even today.)
On the nose, this whisky is classic Laphroaig – salty, peaty, and smoky. With a few drops of water, the nose turns to a delightful, sweet smoke, like sweet Italian sausage cooked over an open bonfire. However, the palate is where this whisky is brilliant. Drank neat, the whisky is peat and smoke, with some malty undertones all in perfect balance. There is a wonderful peaches n’ cream note that works through the palate of this whisky that makes me unbelievably happy. The finish is very long, with hints of oak shavings around a warming layer of sweet, wet peat. Water brings the palate into a more drinkable balance, but I tend to lose that lovely sweetness on the palate at lower proof points, so I usually drink this one straight up.
Overall, this is brilliant whisky if you love peated Islay single malts. Compared to other Islay bottlings at cask strength, this one is a great deal, and phenomenal value. That said, if you are a Speyside drinker (light, fruity, floral), this one probably isn’t up your alley. My grade: A. Price: $60-70/750ml. This one could also be an A/A-, but I am in a generous mood this evening. Make no mistake, though. This is one hell of a Scotch whisky.