Laphroaig 18 Year Old
£77.45 from The Whisky Exchange
On first pour there is rich and intense ripe mixed fruits with pineapple being most prominent. The Laphroaig characteristic TCP medicinal smoke is there, but quietened by the years in oak. Salty sea air, ozone and road tar become more evident with a little time. The fruits expand to stewed apples with touches of orange and banana. Marmalade springs to mind. With a little more time in the glass more moss and earthy elements shine through. Fruit is still very much up front, but the complexities increase as this dram has chance to breath. More time and more change. Something quite herbal now, aniseed/fennel. Some more time and more barbecue influences now, charred coals with pork fat bubbling away on it. This is fantastic and ever evolving.
Arrival is sticky and sweet BBQ pork ribs, quickly turning more bitter, herbal and complex. Sweetness is still there, but turned to more of a burnt toffee/treacle. Stewed apples coated in burnt toffee (mushed toffee apple!) coming forward. Herbal notes continue to reign through the development, with some light aniseed, more akin to soft natural liquorice. Spices now awaken, touches of hot cinnamon and black pepper. Vanilla makes an appearance with some creaminess coming in. The mouthfeel is particularly coating and velvety. Incredibly complex.
Very long. Warming, spicy cinnamon and creamy vanilla, gently and slowly fading with liquorice coming back, some oak finishing things off. Always nicely spicy with pleasant tingling heat, giving quite a mouth buzz.
Adding only a couple of drops. The nose has a more floral nature now, with some heather. Less fruity and more smokey. The herbal elements are still present shrouded in smoke. The palate is much sweeter. More rich honey notes, less burn to the much richer toffee, very thick which suites the mouthfeel which is still very coating and viscous. The finish is still very intensive and spicy, slightly sweeter. The liquorice comes back to play. Well well, what a dilemma. Actually there is no dilemma. You have to pour two glasses and add a few drops to one of them and experience the difference first hand.
Much time can be spent exploring and enjoying everything this wonderful Laphroaig has to bring. The ever changing complex nose is glorious, and the palate is sublime. This isn’t the smoke/TCP monster the 10 year old is known for being, this is its older, more refined sibling, and demands lots of time and attention. Time and attention that rewarded in droves. Equally you could spend an evening sipping this without a care in the world, because the whole experience has just transported you to a better place. This isn’t savouring a whisky. This is experiencing it. Love it.
Thanks so much to Laphroaig for providing the sample.