Feb 102015

Laphroaig prides itself on the 75 years in which the Laphroaig 10 hasn’t changed.

Photo Credit: Laphroaig.com

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.


Laphroaig 10 (40% ABV)

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.






Jan 052015

A Laphroaig that’s a spice bomb?

Sounds unlikely, doesn’t it? But there you have it, I had a 19 year old 1990 vintage Creative Whisky Company (David Stirk) Laphroaig at cask strength. David Stirk started the CWC in 2005, and keeps his operation small. He selects casks and bottles them into three ranges: Exclusive Malts (Single Casks at cask strength, of which about 20 appear every year), Exclusive Casks (which get a three month finish) and the Exclusive Range, which is basically those that don’t make it into the higher ranges.

I have a bottle of a 25 year old Littlemill David Strik bottled exclusively for K&L Wines in the US, and will be reviewing it together with some other Littlemill samples I got from my friend and fellow blogger Thijs, of Words of Whisky.


Photo Credit: Whiskybase.com

1990 Laphroaig (19 year old), Distilled 18.6.1990, Barrel 9064, 181 Bottles (50.4% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Gold with thick and quick legs.

Nose: Very subdued at first with very little peat presenting on the nose, more like faint smoke. Very strong bourbon cask nose with plenty of oak, honey, snuff tobacco and notes of perfume.

Palate: The Laphroaig character comes to say hello only after a serious wave of sharp spices (black pepper, chili pepper and cardamom) and honey. Also, the palate presents citrus bitterness (like grapefruit).

Linger: Medium and spicy with smoke filling the mouth.


This dram is far more spicy than peaty, very unexpected for a Laphroaig, with none of the typical iodine/medicinal notes you’d expect. Tasted blind, I’d say that this was a peated Highland malt rather than a Laphroaig…