Laphroaig 25 (2008) Review

This is the Laphroaig 25 cask strength release from 2008. It was pulled from a combination of bourbon/sherry casks and bottled at 51.2% ABV.

Nose: Iodine and a well aged peat leading off – the peat gives away its age as its mellowed out substantially allowing an earthy, charcoal like oak to come through with some watermelon bubblegum.

Palate: Beautifully balanced peat/oak intermingle with briny malt taking on earth notes from time to time. Overarching ash notes persist throughout.

Finish: Peat and a slightly citrus-laden oak last for some time in a fairly long finish.

Rating: 90/100

Value for the money: You’d have to turn to auctions to find this particular Laphroaig 25 at this point, and most recent results I’ve seen point to this being just north of €400 which is a pass for me.

Laphroaig 15 (Signatory Vintage 1998/2014 K&L Selection Cask #700386) Review

This is a 15 year Laphroaig matured in a refill sherry butt in and bottled at 59.1% ABV.

Nose: Very pungent peat tinged with just a tiny hint of sherry – peat is quite ashy in character. Really not much else to the nose for me as the peat is so strong.

Palate: Huge peat bomb here again – strikes me as Octomore levels of peat and is definitely the peatiest Laphroaig I’ve had. Very ashy with only minor grape notes from the sherry with burnt hamburger notes in the background.

Finish: Peat lingers fully with the burnt meat/carbon notes.

Rating: 86/100 – If you’re a big peat head, then this will be right up your alley. It’s a bit of a one trick, but nice to have a big peat bomb like this here and there.

Value for the money: This was originally around $160 on K&L which is an ok price (I think they later lowered it after I bought it, but can’t remember for sure).

Laphroaig Lore Review

This is a 2016 new addition to the core Laphroaig lineup which is NAS and made up of combination of first fill sherry butts and quarter casks. It’s bottled at 48% ABV.

Nose: Huge peat notes right up front full of iodine followed quickly by overwhelming rubber notes – reminds me of a new racquetball smell. Slightly oaky in the background, but the phenols/rubber notes dominate.

Palate: Intensely rubbery – like licking said racquetballs from the nose – peat remains strong and pungent with a slightly floral malt tucked away in the back.

Finish: Rubber notes fade here for the most part as oak picks up with lingering peat.

Rating: 73/100 – The rubber notes really killed this for me – I get them with some peated whisky, but this is by far the strongest notes I’ve encountered thus far.

Value for the money: This retails around $120 and is an easy pass for me given I like most of their core expressions better than this (and they’re all quite a bit cheaper for the most part).

Laphroaig 21 Cask Strength Review

This is a 21 year OB Cask Strength Laphroaig bottled at 53.4% ABV. In the UK, this bottle was known as the Heathrow Laphroaig as the UK allocation was available only in Terminal 5 of Heathrow.

Nose: First thing I noticed is how subtle the peat is here – expected for a peated whisky this age, but was still surprised at how mild it was. Blueberries and lemon curd with brown sugar, milk chocolate, pears, and vanilla.

Palate: Tart blueberries with more lemon, pears, quite malty with a perfect blend of peat/oak.

Finish: Peat turns a bit ashy here with the berry and oak notes lingering a very long time.

Rating: 93/100 – One of the best, if not the best, Laphroaigs that I’ve had. Much fruitier than I expected with the peat still adding a nice complexity/balance overall.

Value for the money: This originally retailed for around $500 when it was released in 2008 I believe. It now goes for $1500-2000 it looks like. I couldn’t quite go that high, but I would be happy to pay its retail price if it were still around.

Laphroaig 16 (Signatory Vintage TWE Selection 1998/2015 Cask #700389) Review

This is a 16 year Laphroaig that was distilled in 1998 and matured in a refill sherry butt before being bottled in 2015 at 59.9% ABV.

Nose: Chocolaty malt with ground mustard, grapes, orange marmalade, and an odd chlorine note in the background.

Palate: Weird green vegetable taste up front that struck me as asparagus after a bit – pungent peat, spiced baked apples, funky oak, and barbecue sauce.

Finish: Sherry and peat linger with figs and burnt oak.

Rating: 84/100 – Some interesting notes, but the peat and sherry didn’t marry that well here for me – it came off a bit disjointed.

Value for the money: This retailed around $160 originally, and I’d pass at that price personally. I’d maybe buy closer to $100ish.

Laphroaig 15 (Signatory Vintage 1996/2012 Cask #8511) Review

This is a 15 year Laphroaig bottled by Signatory Vintage at 54.3% ABV.

Nose: Raspberries, black berries, cinnamon, red hots, fresh sawn oak, and mild peat. A very cool, fruity nose from a relatively young Laphroaig.

Palate: Very fruity still taking on more lemon/blueberry notes with vanilla and anise. Again, somehow the peat takes a backseat to these fruity notes.

Finish: Fresh oak and peat with lemon curd.

Rating: 88/100 – A very good Laphroaig if you like lighter peat/heavier fruit ones.

Value for the money: The cheapest I can find this online currently is $240 which is pushing it. I suspect this originally retailed closer to $160 or so, and I would gladly buy at that price.

Laphroaig 20 (TWE Masterpiece 1996/2016) Review

This is a 20 year Laphroaig that was bottled as part of TWE’s Masterpieces line recently. It was matured in a PX sherry cask and bottled at 50.6% ABV.

Nose: Heavy butter notes up front (shortbread cookies), peat coming through cleanly with bold fudge notes, honey, and some subtle cherry. The chocolate notes are quite bold here.

Palate: Peat much more striking here taking on heavy smoke/ashy notes, some sulphur in background, but masked well by the peat – some cola notes coming through with a blend of baking spices. PX influence is noticeable but sadly no raisiny notes as I typically find in PX maturations.

Finish: Peat and fudge with ash and strong cherry cola notes linger for a long time.

Rating: 91/100 – I really enjoy sherry finished peated drams, and this one does it quite well. I do wish the PX was a bit more noticeable, but Laphroaig’s peat profile I find is often hard to overtake/blend as well with compared to other distilleries e.g. Longrow, Caol Ila, etc.

Value for the money: This retailed for around £200 I believe when it was released, and I think that’s on the very upper limit of what I would pay for this bottle.

Laphroaig 18 Review

This is the 18 year OB expression from Laphroaig which is bottled at 48% ABV.

Nose: Peat full of a bouquet of sweet notes: caramel rolls, brown sugar, vanilla, strawberries, candied oranges with some cardboard and nutmeg notes in the background.

Palate: Falls a bit flat compared to nose as most of those sweet/bright notes disappear. Turns much earthier/farmier with hay, fresh earth, and a bit of cocoa powder.

Finish: Dark chocolates, fresh earth, pipe smoke, and subtle peaches toward the tail end.

Rating: 91/100 – This has always been one of my favorite Laphroaigs – it’s consistently very good with plenty of depth.

Value for the money: This used to be one of the best value buys around as it retailed around $99-109 (I’ve even seen it on sale for $80 around me in the past). I recently learned it is going to be discontinued supposedly by the end of 2016. A very sad story, but I guess I’ll have to start buying up any cheap ones I see around me.

Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength Review

This is batch 007 of the 10 year CS core expression from Laphroaig. It’s bottled at 56.3% ABV.

Nose: Peat takes on a very fresh earth type note – heavy but a bit muted somehow. Not quite as smoky as I remember – cocoa nibs and rotted oak round out the peat thick profile.

Palate: Peat dominant here again with slightly sour notes cutting it a tad – burnt meat and leaves tack on to an already dense, smoky palate.

Finish: Peat becoming a bit ashy here with heavily burnt oak.

Rating: 88/100

Value for the money: This can be found around $55 or so depending on your market, and I think it makes an excellent buy at that price.

Laphroaig 17 (Signatory Vintage 1997/2014 Cask #3354) Review

This is a 17 year Laphroaig that was matured in an ex-bourbon hogshead, selected by Binny’s, and bottled at 54.7% ABV.

Nose: Very ashy and full of peat with a helping of lemon curd alongside burning dried leaves.

Palate: Grapefruit juice up front cutting through the ashy peat – lemon meringue and smoked fish.

Finish: Peat and sweet smoke lingers with slight apple cider vinegar note.

Rating: 88/100 – A solid Laphroaig that’s a bit heavier on the peat side than I expected at 17 years.

Value for the money: This retailed for $130 which is a pretty fair price for  the quality of this expression.