Laphroaig 18yo 48% abv
Color: Smoky gold
Nose: Sea air, stony beach, oak pier, tropical fruits(papaya, kiwi, melon rind), iodine, Band-Aids, seaweed, distant ashes, gingerbread/graham crackers
Palate: Sweet, tangy, gentle smoke, fruit(peach, pear, a little pineapple), ginger, chili pepper, glazed pork, lemon zest, dry woodiness, an ashy exhalation
Body: Firm, lively
Finish: Soft relaxing fade of sweet & sour stir-fry vegetables
Notes: Expecting some similarity to the 15yo it replaces, but I'm finding a whole different animal. The extra 5% abv really punches through without being too menacing. The aroma is more akin to the Talisker 18yo, the taste is kind of like the Laphroaig 30yo without the antiqueness. A unique profile which takes elements from the entire range and stitches them together. With a splash of water: a very distinct rubber/burning tennis shoes aroma; taste is a smoky lemon pie flavor.
I was pleasantly surprised by this, a definite step up from the 15yo, which is no slouch. A direct comparison leaves the 15yo feeling a little tired. The 15yo was between $58US-$68US around here and I got this 18 at the high end of that; at that price it shines. Some places are asking ridiculous prices for it. If you liked the 15, you'll get something new here and if you can't get the Talisker 18 anymore this is a nice replacement.