The Laphroaig 10 Years Cask Strength Batch 16 is part of a highly celebrated series of whiskies. It goes back almost 15 years, and that’s not counting the Red Stripe, Green Stripe and other Laphroaig Cask Strength releases from the 2000s and 1990s.
As regular readers will likely know, heavily peated whisky is not my preferred style. Or at least, not modern heavily peated whisky produced by many Scotch whisky distilleries. It’s generally just to one-note for me, not leaving much room for fruity esters or other flavor components.
However, I did once upon a time buy two bottles of the Laphroaig 10 Years Cask Strength. The 8th batch, to be exact. What possessed me? Well, I had tasted the previous batch from the distillery’s bicentenary year, was blown away by it, and decided to take a calculated gamble on the batch #8. It worked out rather well, but after working my way through one bottle, I had no desire to drink another one. Instead, a friend relieved me of my second bottle.
That was about 6 years ago. And that’s also the last time I ever tried the Laphroaig 10 Years Cask Strength. Seeing as this is such a staple, I obtained a sample of the most recent release, the Laphroaig 10 Years Cask Strength Batch 16. After all, it’s always a good idea to follow the progress of some of these classics.
One thing that has changed since is the price. From what I remember, it is now almost doubled. The other change can be found on the back label. The text stayed pretty much the same, except for one big difference. It used to say:
“We recommend that you add twice as much water as whisky to fully appreciate the taste characteristics of Original Cask Strength Laphroaig. Whisky at cask strength may overpower the palate…”
Now it says:
“We recommend that you add a small amount of water to your whisky to fully appreciate the taste characteristics of Original Cask Strength Laphroaig. Whisky at cask strength may overpower the palate…”
So, initially, you were basically supposed to drink it as a highball cocktail (except for the ice). What has changed, I wonder? Either way, I’ll drink the Laphroaig 10 Years Cask Strength Batch 16 neat first, and will then add some water. Maybe I’ll try it in a highball later, but not now. Here are my thoughts.
Laphroaig 10 Years Cask Strength Batch 16 (58.5%, OB, 2023)
Nose: A good amount of sandalwood, bonfires, ashes and kippers. Whispers of almond paste too, as well as tarry peat, salty Dutch liquorice, and plaster. There’s also whiffs of barbecued meat and hessian. Taste: Sweet arrival, but aggressive also. Syrupy vanilla with chili heat, pepper and ginger. And then some iodine too, as well as plenty of olive brine, some TCP and asphalt. Quite an in-your-face kind of whisky. Finish: Long, ashy and slightly dry and somewhat medicinal.
A brash, bold whisky that'll satisfy your basic peat needs, but won't set your world on fire. These batches used to represent good value for money. I'm not so sure that is still the case, but it's a good tipple nonetheless.