laphroaig 1996 26 years yggdrasil jack tar 5391 review

Laphroaig 1996 26 Years ‘Yggdrasil’ (Jack Tar)

It’s refreshing to come across an independently bottled Laphroaig that’s actually called, you know, Laphroaig. Not Williamson. Not Secret Islay. Just Laphroaig. And an older one at that. Presumably matured in an ex-bourbon cask, this Laphroaig 1996 26 Years ‘Yggdrasil’ was bottled by Jack Tar.

At first, I thought Yggdrasil must be some sort of anagram. It reminded me of one of those Daily Dram releases from the late 2000s with names like Adieu Lina (Dailuaine), Feral Clangs (Glenfarclas) or Ciao All (Caol Ila). Alas, I was wrong. Yggdrasil refers to a sacred tree in Norse cosmology. Not entirely sure how that relates to Laphroaig.

laphroaig 1996 26 years yggdrasil jack tar 5391 review bottle

Laphroaig 1996 26 Years ‘Yggdrasil’ (48.7%, Jack Tar, C#5391)

Nose: Next-level, very mature peat. There’s not much in the way of medicinal notes, let alone iodine. Instead earthier, almost farmy even. Hints of burlap, gentle marzipan and maybe just a slight whiff of mango. Also touches of charred lemon, bonfire smoke and apricots.
Taste: The mouthfeel is slightly thin, although not worryingly so. It has a nice salinity, but the tropical fruits are the highlight. More mango mainly, some papaya too. Also smoked bacon, bandaids and just a hint of smoked bacon. Far from the brash, youthful exuberance of many modern, younger Laphroaig.
Finish: Medium to long. Somewhat ashy, now also slightly medicinal, and a drop of menthol as well.

The slightly thin mouthfeel keeps me from handing out a higher score. Nevertheless, this Laphroaig 1996 26 Years from Jack Tar is a reminder of why I love heavily-peated whisky at an older age. I rarely drink younger ones by choice, but once other (fruitier) flavour compounds develop and provide a balance for the phenols, I'm all the way in.

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