Non Chill Filtered
£77.95 from Master of Malt
Here’s my little story of my experience of Laphroaig. A long time ago I was younger, and didn’t really appreciate whisky. When I was out with some work colleagues drinking beer quite heavily (as I would do in my twenties), I was presented with a glass of whisky. I sniffed it, it smelled disgusting, TCP, antiseptic, Jesus, WTF! It tasted odd. Very odd. And then I was sick as a dog. Fast forward someteen years and now I appreciate it, I like it, it’s not as TCP as even I’ve known it to be in the 5 or so years I’ve come to appreciate whisky, but it’s still a solid dram I would never turn my nose up at the 10 year old. The 10yo Cask Strength is just amazing, as is the 18.
Now we have the latest expression. Lore. No age on it, but is said to contain some 21 year old stock (viva transparency!). I’ve read some mixed opinions and reviews and I’m writing this foreword without having opened the sample. I want to try this as opinion free as possible, but it’s a bit late for that. I will endeavour to unlearn what I have learned and just take this as blind as I can. Drink on.
On first sniff from the pour it’s quite wine like. White dry wine (I’m no expert on wine types), within seconds some familiar TCP laden medicinal smokiness comes out of the glass. Some antiseptic ointment and memories of sticking plasters for scuffs and cat scratches! Fruit comes foreword next, with some crisp apple and white berries, grapes, ripe gooseberry amongst the smoke beginning to turn bonfire like. There’s a touch of floral heather, and a spot of honey. A little more time and the fruit is turning citrusy with waxy lemons. There’s a spot of pepper in the back of the throat with deep sniffs. A longer wait in the glass and we have a lot more fruit coming forward orchard berries, apples, pears, a harvest fruit basket, well integrated into the peat fire with some complementary floral heather. This is a nice balanced Islay nose.
This is taking a while to deconstruct, it’s quite challenging and complex. The mouthfeel has some oiliness, but isn’t as overly coating as I would have expected. The arrival is sweet then immediate dry, spicy and herbal heavy. Liquorice root, straw (dried grass), dried dark fruits, dry ginger beer, or even Stone’s ginger wine. Smoke definitely, and something odd I can’t quite put my finger on, I think it’s the dry ginger throwing me. There’s quite a bit of oakiness to this one, old wood, some tar, black imp sweets, aniseed by the bucketload, even a touch of Parma violets in the background. This is one to sip over and over and play around with.
The odd dry ginger/herbal element progresses through a medium length finish. Which becomes quite dry, ginger heavy, some sawdust, very dry in fact, gum shrinking, but strangely compelling. The dryness sticks around forever!
A splash added. The nose is smokier, more bonfire smoke with some BBQ mackerel and some sticky glazed port cutlets. There’s the slightest touch of rubber some charred fruit and tomato on the BBQ smoking away as well. Some freshly cut sods of earth. It’s really woken up with a drop of water. The palate has actually got thicker and fruitier, juicier. Even the mouthfeel seems oilier now. Fruits are more vibrant, younger and juicier, some sweet lemon and orange join the dark fruits from earlier. Liquorice is sweeter. The herbal notes are tonned down but still present, and the peat and earthy edges are more integrated. The dry ginger note has moved into the late development and more prominent at the start of the finish, which is slightly less dry and all together a lot tastier. This one works very well with some water added.
It’s fascinating stuff. It’s not very Laphroaig like though! Which I can imagine dedicated Laphroaig-ers would find troublesome. It’s very definitely unique, tasty, oddly fascinating, very very dry and worth a try. With water it’s even better! Price wise, all I’ll say is it’s a shame it’s not cheaper (a statement I make very frequently nowadays). When you have awesome Laphroaig stable expressions like the 10 year old and quarter cask, it’s very difficult to impress. Especially when things get more expensive.
Tomorrow I’m going to conclude the Laphroaig triple postings with my favourite of the Laphroaig family so far! 🙂
Many thanks to Laphroaig for the review sample