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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

August 1, 2013



The Whiskyfun Anniversary Tastings
Five decades of Laphroaig
(2000, 1999, 1986, 1970, 1968)

Should we expect a medicinal cavalcade today? What’s sure is that there will be big Laphroaigs and there will be bigger Laphroaigs… Watch the old ones!

Laphroaig 2000/2013 (58.7%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 13010, 243 bottles)

Laphroaig 2000/2013 (58.7%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 13010, 243 bottles) Five stars Colour: straw. Nose: interesting! Sure it’s not easy to nose such a high strength baby but I seem to find touches of white rhum agricole and candy sugar beyond the bandages and the antiseptic. Maybe also hints of walnut cake, possibly from the sherry cask. It seems that this will be lovely… With water: it is lovely, as much as a, say a Corvette can be lovely. Heavy briny and smoky young Laphroaig! Nah, it’s very classy, in fact. Mouth (neat): perfect, just perfect. Powerful, smoky brine and lemon juice but all that remains elegant. Olive oil and other oils, then lemon juice and salted liquorice. High quality youngster. With water: swallowing a dozen oysters with Tabasco and lemon juice. Finish: long, salty. The Tabasco got even louder. Comments: as great as Laphroaig can be at just twelve or thirteen. Gives you hope and faith but you have to love… Tabasco. SGP:268 - 90 points.

Laphroaig 12 yo 1999/2012 'Highgrove ' (46%, OB, cask #5159)

Laphroaig 12 yo 1999/2012 'Highgrove ' (46%, OB, cask #5159) Five stars Now that the royal baby’s born, let’s try his grandpa’s whisky. We’re all ears… Colour: pale straw. Nose: it’s not old but there are already some touches of pink grapefruits and passion fruits, like in the old Laphroaigs (old tens, Bonfanti and such). This is actually beautiful and much more delicate than expected. Light smoke, moderate camphor, lovely almonds and other fresh nuts (or is this sesame?), clams, whelks (hey!), other seafood… A perfect nose! To think that we were thinking this would be all ears (S., this is becoming ridiculous – Camilla.) Mouth: excellent, perfectly smoky, salty, lemony, medicinal and briny. Everything’s there, balance is achieved, this is perfect Laphroaig at drinking strength. Finish: long, briny, salty. Drinking seawater. Comments: I’ve seen on the telly that his personal butler prepares Charles’ toothbrush every morning, the prince doesn’t even need to handle his toothpaste tube. Hope he gets a glass of this as well. Yup, every morning! SGP:457 - 90 points.

Laphroaig 23 yo 1986/2009 (60.9%, The Perfect Dram, bourbon hogshead, 166 bottles)

Laphroaig 23 yo 1986/2009 (60.9%, The Perfect Dram, bourbon hogshead, 166 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: straw. Nose: sure it’s strong and sure there isn’t much that makes it through the high alcohol, but it’s neither brutal nor overly smoky. Antiseptic, seawater, smoke and, maybe, good sauvignon blanc. I cannot not think of an excellent white Bordeaux, Pessac-style. Chevalier? Laville? (I’m just bragging now). With water: some shy oak coming through, but also lemon Jell-O and even some crisper sauvignon blanc. Rather Loire instead of Bordeaux? Mouth (neat): powa! Huge, aggressive, bestial… So, with water: that’s what’s boring with Laphroaig, they can all be great. What’s the point? Actually, this one is rather oilier than the others, and rather less fruity, but it remains great. Finish: long, always with this oily feeling. Like quaffing smoked sunflower oil, if you see what I mean. Comments: big fat oily Laphroaig. Would work as petrol for you car, I’m sure. SGP:357 - 89 points.

Laphroaig 16 yo 1970/1986 (46%, Cadenhead, black dumpy)

Laphroaig 16 yo 1970/1986 (46%, Cadenhead, black dumpy) Five stars Colour: straw. Nose: yesssss! Perfect combination of smoky/medicinal stuff with tropical, err, fruits. Much similar to the old official tens, with a peat that transmuted into myriads of exotic fruits, first passion fruits, then guavas, then mangos and then grapefruits. Utterly amazing, enough said. Mouth: stunning. Doesn’t taste like 46%, tastes like more. Say around 80% vol. A masterful combination of tropical fruits, all things salty and all things medicinal. Add to that three olives and a greasiness (maybe that’s smoked sesame oil) and it’s, you know, just perfect. Finish: long and with more tar and heavy liquorice. What a beast! Comments: you would think that at 46% vol. and after more than 25 years in glass, this baby would have been tamed and quiet. You bet! It’s totally restless. Perfect for WF’s eleventh anniversary (may I say quite selfishly). SGP:557 - 94 points.

Laphroaig 1968 (55.3%, Gordon & MacPhail for Donini, +/-1980)

Laphroaig 1968 (55.3%, Gordon & MacPhail for Donini, +/-1980) Five stars Ah, the famous Celtic label! Colour: pale gold. Nose: hold on, this is even greater than the 1970. It’s not as fruity, nor as straightly lovable, but the smoke is huge and, above all, very complex. That means coal but also herbs smoke, peat of course, brown coal (this wettish kind of smoke), even oil, pitch, tar… And also these huge coastal notes, fisherman’s boat, then these fruits, mangos, passion fruits… And pineapples! And oils such as olive and argan! Wow! And after twenty minutes, it’s almost mercurochrome. With water: yahhh! Undescriptable nose. Pure magic. Please call the anti-maltoporn brigade. Nothing beats this. Can you smoke maracujas? Mouth (neat): this should be verboten, finito, interdit. Okay, it’s maybe a wee bit too salty (gherkins in brine) but other than that, it’s got the same oomph than the 1970, only with more power. Was it legal to bottle this? It’s absolutely immense, thick, implacable and self-imposing. Wrecks your evening, in a way, it’s like having dinner with Pete Doherty. Loud and bad-mannered, but very likeable whisky! With water: let’s be serious, this could be defeated by a Bowmore. Maybe also by a Lagavulin, but great old Lagavulins are simply introvabile, even in Italy. Well, watch this space, hehehe… Ardbeg? Nope. Finish: it’s Ali vs. Foreman in Kinshasa. This one’s Ali. Ali, boma ye! Comments: 100% own maltings, no need to say more. Vivaldi’s Gloria RV 589. SGP: who cares? - 97 points (who cares?).

(with thanks to Diego and Jens)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Laphroaig I've tasted so far


Whiskyfun fav of the month

July 2013

Favourite recent bottling:
Highland Park 25 yo 1988/2013 (55.7%, Cadenhead, small batch, sherry butts, 1086 bottles) - WF 92

Favourite older bottling:
Bowmore 1968/1977 (59.7%, OB, Feschio & Frassa, sherry cask, cask #222) - WF 96

Favourite bang for your buck bottling:
Bowmore 11 yo 2001/2012 (46.9%, Sansibar, 263 bottles)  - WF 90







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