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A question about Laphroaig 10 from the older days

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A question about Laphroaig 10 from the older days

Postby talisker10 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:33 pm

I was fortunate enough to have had a couple of drams of Laphroaig 10 last night. Hard to believe it's less than $50 a bottle. It is certainly one of my good old standbys, especially the nose.

However the general consensus is that the current 10 is a shell of it's former self. So in general terms what made the Laph 10 of 1990's and earlier better. Was it smokier, peatier..etc? I'd love to be able to have just one glass sometime of a Laph from that 50's or 60's. I am 45 years old, but only started drinking SMS a couple of years ago.
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Re: A question about Laphroaig 10 from the older days

Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:54 pm

I think it was more medicinal and iodiney. I didn't like it at all when I first got into malts, about ten years ago. Then suddenly I did. I'm not sure if it just clicked for me, or if it changed, or both. But in 1972, capacity was doubled; instead of adding two spirit stills identical to the two existing, one double-sized one was added, against the advice of the distilling people. This is one factor in the change in character over the years. There is a discussion of this in Jefford's Peat Smoke and Spirit, starting on page 332 (hardcover edition).

Like you, I'd like another shot at the "old" stuff.
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Re: A question about Laphroaig 10 from the older days

Postby talisker10 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 6:39 pm

Thanks! I also need to get that book. Sounds like a good read. I am going to be working for a couple of months away from home (New Mexico, not Antarctica this time) so I will need something to go with the bottles I bring with me.
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Re: A question about Laphroaig 10 from the older days

Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:03 pm

It's an absolute must read for any whisky lover.

Another factor Jefford mentions is the change from coal-fired stills to steam-fired, and I think this will have been a factor across the industry. When the estimable Mr Ian Logan showed us around Strathisla, he introduced us to a retired stillman named Tommy, who does some of the tours. In the old days, distillery workers were given a daily ration of new-make spirit to get them through the day--their daily dram. Tommy told us that, at one time, one of Strathisla's stills was coal fired, and one, steam-fired. The daily dram was given from the coal-fired still, as the workers preferred that. One day--once--he gave them their daily dram from the steam still. He said he hasn't heard the end of it yet!
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Re: A question about Laphroaig 10 from the older days

Postby The Third Dram » Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:39 pm

talisker10 wrote:So in general terms what made the Laph 10 of 1990's and earlier better?

I'm not quite so sure about the Laphroaig of the 1990s in terms of consistent quality.

Others here have made some very telling comments as to the reasons behind a change in the character of the spirit. And I know that I certainly noticed, during the aforementioned 1990s, some bottles of the Laphroaig 10 Year Old displaying a richer golden colour, even with a touch of orange in the makeup. The mid-palate effect had also softened ever so slightly, possibly due to a subtle veil of caramel. Yet at other times, some bottles seemed marginally more 'raw' than the norm. Of course, such inconsistencies are not unheard of throughout the single malt industry.

Lately, I've judged the 10YO to be back to its clean, uncluttered, beachside best, with the 'medicine' going down in buttery-smooth fashion. Yes, it may indeed have lost a touch of its intensity.

By the way, Jefford's fine book is now widely available in paperback.
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Re: A question about Laphroaig 10 from the older days

Postby Wave » Thu Apr 09, 2009 7:00 am

My first Laphroaig was a cask strength (Cadenheads) in the mid 90's and I've been hooked on Laphroaig CS ever since. The 10 has never really done anything for me and believe it or not bland IMHO at either 40 or 43%. It's just not even in the same league that the cask strength is in.

Cheers!
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Re: A question about Laphroaig 10 from the older days

Postby Ganga » Thu Apr 09, 2009 3:41 pm

I'd note a few things based on the thread thus far. Bottles in the US are still at 43%. I whole-heartedly agree that Laphroaig had more of a sea influence (seaweed or iodine, medicinal) in the 1990s. Today I find the 10 more fruity-green apples.
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Re: A question about Laphroaig 10 from the older days

Postby talisker10 » Thu Apr 09, 2009 6:00 pm

Thanks for all the great replies. I also am a big fan of the CS, but the standard 10 is more readily available in some of the out of the way places I go, so I do like it as well. I too notice more of a fruity character in Laphroaig than a mediciny one..although the iodine/medicine side is definitely there.
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