Laphroaig Single Malt Whisky – 10 Year Old
Man, the more I drink Scotch, the more I realize I don’t know much about it. Which is great, because I love learning about this stuff. I had to break out the ole 1001 Whiskies book for some information on this Laphroaig 10 Year. I understand the single malt process, but what I think is interesting is the process used in the Isle of Islay or at least the Laphroaig distillery. For this whisky they take the malted barley and dry it over a peat fire. That is the essential part of the process that gives this whisky so much of it’s flavor. To me that’s just incredible a pretty big difference from how we do it here in the states. I’ve had some smoked corn whiskey before from Kentucky and it gives it a unique flavor all its own for sure.
There is so much history and culture created in this distillery that I couldn’t do it all justice here. I’ve read through most of the history on their site and it goes back to 1810. That’s over 200 years of culture behind this distillery. That’s pretty incredible if you ask me. I think one of the coolest things about this whisky, particularly the Laphroaig 10 Year is that allow you to join their community and own a 1 square foot piece of their land. That’s pretty awesome. Now, I know I’m probably never going to pronounce it correctly even after seeing them spell it out phonetically (La-froyg). I’m still not 100% sure I’m saying it right, but I’m sure I’ll get there with time. Especially if I do it with a Scottish accent no one would be the wiser.
After going through all the content on their site and watching all the videos, I feel like I’ve made a special connection with this whisky. They’ve done an absolutely incredible job with their site and giving people knowledge about the process that they use. It’s really great to see how much detail is put into each ounce of this whisky. It definitely makes you sit back and enjoy it just a wee bit more. (Yes that was in a Scottish accent.) I think that’s enough about the distillery, let’s get into the whisky and see what the final product is all about.
This Laphroaig 10 Year comes in some fantastic packaging. It’s a nice tall metallic tube. I think most Scottish whiskies are coming in something similar to this nowadays and it adds a little bit of class to the final product. The packaging is simplistic and white. It’s nothing that will really blow you away aesthetically but I still enjoy it. Once I remove the bottle from inside it’s metal container I’m greeted with a bottle that looks almost identical to the metal container. Same color black font with a starch white background. Simple, yet effective, can’t argue against that.
A neat little booklet popped out from the tin when I pulled the bottle out. I began reading through it and turns it’s a thing called Friends of Laphroaig, basically if you buy a bottle, you can get your own square foot on their property. After quite a few land battles the distillery finally decided to buy all the land around their water supply to keep others from trying to make a cheap imitation of their whisky. So as part of that, every bottle of Laphroaig 10 Year that you buy you help them keep this land. Pretty cool idea if you ask me. I can’t wait to fill out my form and get my piece of land!
Once I got the bottle open I poured a nice dram and began looking at it in the light. It gives off this nice shimmering gold color. It’s obviously lighter than most of the bourbons that I typically drink, but it’s still just as gorgeous. This truly is liquid gold. I love how it coats the glass and watching the legs roll down my Glencairn glass I have some good feelings about this whisky.
As soon as I open up this bottle of Laphroaig 10 Year the aroma starts swirling the room. I left the room and let it air out a bit and come back in a few minutes later. When I come back in I pick up my glass and start swirling it and instantly I’m getting that big nose of peat and smoke right off the bat. My wife is sitting in the next room and she says “Did you open your humidor? It smells like smoke!” I told her no, it’s this new whisky. So yeah, the smoke and peat are very strong. A lot of people in their reviews state they pick up seaweed. I don’t get that at all. But I also don’t have that aroma burned into my memory. I eat plenty of seaweed in my sushi, but I couldn’t pick out that aroma. The next thing I get is the medicinal note, to me it’s similar to iodine, but not as strong. I’m basically overwhelmed by the peat right now. I’m starting to become more of a fan of this aroma the more that I have it.
As soon as I’m done swirling I take a nice sip and I instantly pick up that peaty flavor. Behind that I get a nice sweetness from this Laphroaig 10 Year. It’s not reminiscent of caramel or anything like that you would typically get in a bourbon. It’s just a nice sweetness to it that balances very well with the smokey flavors coming through. It’s not quite as balanced as I would like it to be, but I can get over that. It’s a great combination right now. They were obviously going after a specific flavor profile and I think they did a great job. I’m still getting used to the peaty flavors coming from the Islay whiskies. But as I said above, I’m starting to like it.
The finish on this Laphroaig 10 Year is nice and medium in length. It doesn’t linger all that long to me. It’s a nice mouth coating and follows you down into your chest a bit and then disappears. I get more of the sweetness on the finish and the peaty note isn’t as dominant there as it is in other places. I get more of the iodine on the finish as well, it’s about at the same level of intensity as the peat note.
Laphroaig 10 Year: 9/10
Overall I really enjoyed this whisky. I wasn’t sure what to expect exactly and I was pleasantly surprised. It’s not incredibly balanced, but it is full of flavor thats for sure. I don’t think it’s a beginners whisky choice for Scotch, but as I grow my palate and knowledge I think it’s a great segue into more advanced whiskies down the road. I can’t wait to pair this with a cigar and see what sort of flavor bombs happen. Can you imagine pairing this with the MUWAT Kentucky Fire Cured? I think it would be sensory overload especially on the smokey flavors. So if you haven’t picked up a bottle of this Laphroaig 10 Year yet do yourself a favor and try it. Hell if you don’t like it at least you’ll get your own piece of land in Scotland! That’s worth the price of admission if you ask me.