I guess you could say I have expensive taste when it comes to whisky, especially in the case of peated whisky. See, I’m not one to drool over a young peat bomb from Caol Ila, Ardbeg or Laphroaig.
I’d much rather have a more subtle experience, which in the case of the aforementioned distilleries is often only possible after a few solid decades of ageing in oak casks. In the case of Laphroaig, even their discontinued18-year-old showcased much more subtleties that its younger counterparts.
A little while ago I hosted a very decadent tasting and one of the whiskies included was an official Laphroaig 25 Years Old, bottled at cask strength in 2017. Since I was driving that day, I decanted it into a sample bottle, and now the day has come for me to find out what I missed on that glorious evening.
Laphroaig 25 Years Old Cask Strength (48.9%, OB, 2017)
Nose: Coastal and peaty, with a hint of liquorice, brine and paraffin, yet there’s room for other aromas. Mush bananas and ripe oranges, but also pears. Taste: Very sweet with ripe mangos and sweet refined sugar, followed by dry ashy and peaty notes. A touch of tar, but all very restrained. A hint of lemon zest too, as well as a bit of liquorice root. The mouthfeel is a bit thin. Finish: Medium in length. Touches of salt and pepper, lingering ashes and green olives.
It is subtle and less peated than modern Laphroaig, which is to be expected after such a long time in the cask.
Yet, where’s the extra complexity that should come from the quarter century of maturation? I don’t really find it. Good whisky, but not what you would hope for.