Yesterday was a very special day, as I made my way to Mishmar HaEmeq, a kibbutz in northern Israel, where my friend Yori Costa held a tasting he was putting together for the past three years. Through diligent work, he was able to bring together either samples (60-200 ml each) or bottles of all 11 versions of the Laphroaig Cask Strength editions. I’ll probably write a post on all 11 versions and on how I thought they stack up, but today I’d like to focus on the current version, Batch 009, which this is also the first time I’m tasting.
The cask strength edition is for purists who like their whisky as it comes out of the cask. I know it’s not chill filtered, as the distillery clearly states that it’s only barrier filtered, but I have no idea if any E-150a is used, as it’s sold only in the UK and US, both of which do not require such disclosure. It would obviously make no sense to color the whisky, but I don’t think it makes sense to color any whisky, so I really don’t know.
Laphroaig 10 Year Old Cask Strength Batch 009 (58.1% ABV, NCF)
Appearance: Amber, thin and slow legs run down from a sturdy necklace.
Nose: Laphroaig peat, but with quite a bit of vanilla, there’s a pine like quality to the honey sweetness, with some white pepper and a slight vinegary sourness. It seems like this dram wouldn’t mind having a bit of water, and we’ll see what that brings out.
Water brings out some minerals, then some gentle honey and hints of baking bread.
Palate: Powerful peat and a very oaky bitterness, hint of orange peel and pepper. With water, the citrus bitterness is more pronounced, as are the oaky tannins and the black pepper.
Linger: Spice on the tongue, and lots of peat around the gullet, with some pepper. The water takes the linger farther into the spicy realm. There’s sweetness and peat with some tingling of the inner cheeks for quite a while.
Need we say more than Laphroaig 10 at cask strength?
Is it the best batch ever of the cask strengthes ever? No, that glory belongs elsewhere (I’ll give you a hint, though: the next batch and the winning batch can be written the same), but it’s darn good.
And hey, we’re already in November, so I assume that withing two months or so we’ll have batch 010. Yum!