Laphroaig prides itself on the 75 years in which the Laphroaig 10 hasn’t changed.
But that’s part of the unspoken fiction in the world of whisky: the idea of sameness in whisky. Whisky is not the same as it was decades ago, for many reasons: The barley isn’t from the same strain, the yeast isn’t the same yeast, the malt comes from a commercial malt processing plant (even if, as is the case with Laphroaig, that some of the malt is still floor malted at the distillery), the bourbon barrels aren’t the same as they were and so on.
Thus, a dram of Laphroaig 10 from 2014 won’t taste the same as a dram from 1974 which will be different from one bottled in 1954 and so on, even if the method of preparation is nominally the same.
Putting the back story aside, the Laphroaig 10 is a staple basic malt in every peat monster aficionado’s cabinet.
Appearance: Light bronze, quick and thin legs.
Nose: Savory BBQ meat, peat and iodine, medicinal notes, a sea breeze carrying the scent of a beach fire. After some time in the glass, the peat gets stronger and comes through a little cleaner, the bandaged medicinal note gets stronger.
Palate: Peat hits the tongue with honey and light pepper. A smoky sweetness in a full body.
Linger: Spice on the back of the throat, peat all over the palate and a tangy dryness on the inside of the cheeks.
Classic peat monster, this is probably the most extreme of the basic peated expressions to be reviewed here. Probably not the malt I’d use to introduce a novice to peated whisky, it is, nevertheless, consistently good, even if it isn’t quite the same as it was 75 years ago.