What can be more fun than finding a large denomination bill in pants that came out of the wash?
Stumbling on a triplet cask of whiskys you tasted bottled by another indie bottler!
Geeks record as much information on their whisky as possible. This trait came in handy as I tasted the final indie Laphroaig sitting patiently in my queue waiting to be tasted. This is a Signatory Un-Chillfiltered collection Laphroaig from 1998 with a very distinct (and wonderful) nose I recognized immediately from a van Wees Ultimate Laphroaig I reviewed just last week, itself a twin cask to the cask strength Laphroaig 13 I have. So my notes revealed that all three were distilled on the same day (22 September, 1998) and filled into three sherry butts on Islay – two made their way to Dutch indie bottler van Wees, and one went to Signatory.
My cask strength bottle is from sherry butt #700394, the other Ultimate I got from Erik Olink was cask #700354 and the Signatory was cask #700384, and I set out to find out a little more about that Tuesday in 1998 at Laphroaig, which suggests a range of casks that could be 40 deep.
Some digging revealed that September 22nd was a prolific day for sherry butts at Laphroaig, as there are currently already 19 expressions from within this range of cask numbers ranging from 11 to 15 years of age. The bulk of them are various Signatory expression, including one for The Whisky Exchange (#700393) of which I heard quite a bit of good things.
The three expressions i had so far (and what I heard of TWE’s bottling) are exemplary cases of what a really good sherry cask can do with peated spirit, and that’s a real delight!
Signatory Vintage 1998 – The Un-Chillfiltered Collection Laphroaig, Refill Sherry Butt #700384, Distilled 22.9.98 and Bottled 26.2.14, Yielding 797 bottles (46% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Bronze, thick and quick legs, but droplets remain on glass.
Nose: Very close to the Ultimated bottled at 46% with the sea and iodine soaked bandages coming in earlier than with that expression. There’s BBQ ribs, a faint note of diesel fuel, strong sherry, white bread, hickory smoke and smoked salami. Over time, a slightly sour note develops over time. The nose has less smoked fish and more smoked meat than the van Wees.
Palate: VERY Laphroaigy with loads of medicinal peat and sherry sweetness. Light peppery spices suggest American oak (as opposed to warm wood spiced you’d expect from a European oak butt) with hints of chocolate and hard candy.
Linger: Spicy in the throat and bonfire in the mouth, with some sherry sweetness that delivers a tanginess on the inside of the cheeks.
The realization that I’m enjoying a triplet dawned on me while nosing this dram. Since all the casks I had varied only in the penultimate digit (7003X4), I wondered if this isn’t a strange numbering method, which would suggest two more casks out there.
To my delight, the range seems to full with some 40 casks out there, and just under a half of them bottled.
If you like Laphroaig, get one of the bottles out there, and vigilantly watch for the other 21 casks, from what I can tell so far, they’re very worthy of it 🙂
Rotem, you have a winner there….Thanks for sharing 🙂