For Dominic's birthday we did a Laphroaig vertical tasting of 8 Laphroaigs, then had a huge curry. Let me note that Laphroaig goes very well with curry, especially if you have no taste buds left like me. This was a sequel to our vertical Ardbeg tasting (8 ardbegs, including very young-renaissance) we did when we launched the company and almost as much fun
However the company does, the least we can say is we have fantastic shareholder meetings. We only review 6 below, mainly because thats the only notes I have but also because these 6 are in our tasting pack. Comments are mine, notes are Dominic's. Scores average of the four of us, and we mark relative harshly I think (we all loved all the whiskies!).
1. Signatory Laphroaig 2000 (46%). 8.2/10. They have done a series of young Laphroaigs, starting with a 7 year old, which was fantastic. This one is good, but maybe not as good. First thing you notice is the pale colour in comparison to the standard 10 year old. Second thing is the completely different taste profile and the big banana hit!
Nose: A big peat wave at first but with time the smoke clears to leave banana toffee, some floral notes, medicine cabinet.
Palate: The peat is immediately evident, dominating the first part of the taste, there's a chewy liquorice centre, a sweet and sour double whammy with some sweet pepper and some citrus.
Finish: Long and spicy, with peat
Laphroaig 10 year old (40%): 8/10. I drink this regularly, but in this company it does stand out a bit as the weakest link. They should bottle this at 48% like the rest.
Nose: Subdued and elusive, with some peat but apple peel and green salad in the mix.
Palate: Sherbety, with pontefract cakes and defined punch peat.
Surprisingly soft overall though.
Finish: Medium, with some soft toffee notes and peat
Quartercask (48%). 8.8/10. I think its fair to say we all preferred the QC to the 10. What was interesting was comparing QC to Triplewood
Nose: A grinderman nose: powerful, dusty, with green fruits, coal shed smoke, engine oil. All very intense.
Palate: Concentrated and intense industrial smoke, some aniseed, a trace of liquorice, Mouth-coating.
Finish: Sharp and savoury peat notes linger
Triplewood (48%) 8.6/10. This is QC+sherry, but on balance we prefered the QC! That wasnt true of us all, and it was pretty close, but for me the sherry didnt actually do it any favours.
Nose: Creamy and light on peat, with Thai spices, some sherry feistiness and some spiky spices.
Palate: Beach barbecue, lemon drizzled on char-grilled fish, unexpected fruity warmth. Complex but balanced between the sherry fruitiness and the savoury peat. Subtle, challenging and absorbing.
Finish: Rich smoky and fruity, and goes on forever.
Laphroaig 10 year old cask strength batch 002 (58.3%). 9.2/10. Now your talking. I just love this one. We had a small amount of batch 01 to compare, and it is fairly different
Nose: Tarred rope, phenol.
Palate: Seaweedy. Both salty and sweet. Tar-like.
Finish: Medicinal. Tar, phenol, peat, earth. A wonderfully complex whisky.
sorry, forgot to make notes for the batch 01, getting fairly sozzled at this point, dom was now launching into some music based anacdote, michelle was burning the curry and I was tucking into the whisky... This is what I wrote about the CS batch 002 "'I've come to the end of the bottle of this, I've compared it to batch 001 and the old cask strength and drank it with five other Laphroaigs, and I'm still a bit confused and conflicted. On the one hand, I think its fabulous. Against the others it stood out, its got a clean, sharp taste that is very appealing. On the other, when I've been sat at home drinking whisky, I've really enjoyed the first dram but have not at all enjoyed the second, and moved on to something else. There is a light, floral, sweet quality that sits strangely with the general laphroaig taste.
Laphroaig 18 year old (48%). 9.5/10. For me (and the other 3 of us I think), this is up there with my all time affordable favorites Renaissance and Lagavulin 12 (gives you an idea of my taste preferences!). This was our clear favorite, followed by the CS.
Nose: Brine and sea spray. Greasy rope. Hot road tar in the rain.
Palate: Industrial steam engine. Red liquorice. Peppered steak cooked on a hickory barbecue. Big and brooding.
Finish: Long, with peat coating the mouth and liquorice and hickory lingering.
We also tried the 2010 festival bottling, but I've lost the notes! I think I preferred the 18 though.
so now to plug (hope thats allowed!) we are selling these 6 Laphroaigs as 6x50ml for £30+P&P.http://www.thewhiskytastingclub.co.uk/laphroaigTasting.php
Next week, an English whisky flight, chapters 6,7,9&10