Laphroaig shines beautifully once you get it beyond the entry levels (Select, Four Oak, QA Cask and even the much loved regular 10 year old). So yes, it’s really easy to say that at at a higher ABV whisky is good, and frankly, that’s not really saying much and it isn’t really a whisky critique. Also, we must keep in mind that what the malthead crowd reading this blog is looking for isn’t really what the whisky market at large is drinking. In fact, when I asked John Campbell, Laphroaig’s distillery manager, about upping the ABV on the 10 year old and stopping chill filtration, his answer was that the 10 is a bar staple all over the world, and he wouldn’t want to touch that, but that he created the 10 Year Old Cask Strength for “you guys” (meaning maltheads).
That being as it may, and since Laphroaig is actually very good to us maltheads (as there is a wide variety of expressions available at 48% and a yearly release at cask strength plus the higher octane Cairdeas), I’ve laid off my critique of the 10, and I guess the Select needs to enjoy that protection as well, trying to be “a nice and gentle” Laphroaig for people first tasting peated whisky.
However, despite being travel retail, being bottled at 48% means I do have high expectations from the 1815. The 1815 was created by This comes from first-fill bourbon barrels that were “over-charred”, finished in virgin European oak hogsheads.
Laphroaig 1815 Legacy Edition (48%)
Appearance: Bronze, viscous, think and slow legs with quite a lot of residue.
Nose: Very fruity with gentle peat, red apples, yellow plum, brine and some peat fires with a hint of chocolate.
Palate: Peat, acetone, bitter citrus rind, sweet wood spices you’d typically get in sherry casks, honey, and a hint of ash.
Linger: Spicy with a gentle sweetness, some bitter notes, with a deposit of white pepper, ash on the tongue and a dryness with some pine notes.
You can definitely see the work that John Campbell did here to serve up a very balanced whisky. It’s sweet, bitter, fruity and smoky. The virgin European oak adds almost sherry like notes on the palate and you can tell that while youngish whisky was uses, so was some mature whisky, and the balance here is the name of the game. Well crafted.
Tasted as part of the MMI – Malt Mongers Israel Whisky Club tasting