As part of our run up to Fèis Ìle here, our Malt Mongers Israel Whisky Club had a conference call with John Campbell during a Laphroaig themed meeting held last Wednesday.
Responding to my question about age stated whisky, John revealed that later this year Laphroaig will be releasing a new release of a 30 year old, fully matured in first fill ex bourbon casks. I asked him to contrast it with this 30 year old I tasted with him at The Whisky Show, and he said that these are totally different beasts, as the new 30 is wholly bourbon matured, whereas the old 30 year old was 60% first fill sherry.
John also mentioned in the masterclass that 30 is the youngest whisky in the mix, but there is a proportion of whisky that’s significantly older. That means that the youngest whisky in this bottle was distilled in 1967, but some of it harks back to the early 1960s. I had this as a contrast to the 200th anniversary 32 year old, and while that’s a very modern whisky – clean, very defined and quite cereal-y – the 30 is a true old school sherry matured whisky, grand and fun.
Laphroaig 30 Year Old – First Bottling 1997 (43% ABV)
Appearance: Bronze, the necklace seems frozen in place.
Nose: Big hit of dark fruit and vanilla, peat, more vanilla, banana cake, sherry and dried fruit, peat, more dark fruit, coffee, dark chocolate and compote with a lot of clove.
Palate: Peat and sweet sherry, very viscous, lightly bitter with the lightest dusting of spice.
Linger: First the mouth dries out, then a long sumptuous sweetness settles on the tongue, and just stays. The peat is there, but softly. Absolutely gorgeous.
Bar none, this is the most fabulous Laphroaig I tasted. The old sherry does magic with the Laphroaig. I say old sherry, because the flavor profile of the 32 is very different.
Will the new bourbon matured whisky stand up to this timeless classic? Time will tell….