Google The 20th Anniversary Sessions, today one wee Laphroaig

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

August 6, 2022






Angus's Corner
From our correspondent and
skilled taster Angus MacRaild in Scotland
The 20th Anniversary Sessions, today one wee Laphroaig (but not just any)


I recorded notes for this one quite a while ago and I've been holding onto them with the notion that a suitable time would present itself. Seems like this is as fitting a time as any…






Laphroaig 15 yo 1967/1982 (57%, Duthie's for Samaroli, sherry)

Laphroaig 15 yo 1967/1982 (57%, Duthie's for Samaroli, sherry)
Colour: Mahogany. Nose: The most astonishing combination of medical tinctures, old hardwood shavings, myriad dark, stewed and tropical fruits and rich seam of wet earth, hessian, crushed walnuts, aged tar liqueur and pomegranate syrup. A totally and utterly spellbinding aroma at first nosing. Background aromas of still-warm coal hearths, aged stout and a saline inflected dunnage note with damp sack cloth and hessian. Quite bewilderingly complex, the kind of nose you can - and should - lose yourself in utterly for hours. With a little more time develops some more precise notes of green fruits, grapefruit and ripe blood orange. There really are just all kinds of aromas: myriad spices; dark chocolate; ancient balsamico - and of course I haven't even mentioned the peat yet.



Pure, brilliant, earthy, fat, almost visceral peat. The earthy quality almost goes into aged Pinot Noir territory. It's a hard to fathom the complexity of this nose. Wrapped around everything is the most pristinely earthy, farmy and enveloping sherry. With Water: More tar, more salt, more roof pitch, more flints, more distillate character! The green fruits and the tropical fruits really go to war now in the most spectacular fashion. In the end the tropical side wins - deft notes of passionfruit, pineapple and guava all mingle together. Seashore, warm brown bread, iodine and various medical tinctures. Endless... Mouth: The most intense, jelly-like density of syrupy, perfectly balanced sherry, dynamic peat, coal, earth, farmyard and a litany of tropical fruit. Astonishing whisky! Utterly, utterly majestic. The sherry and the peat are perfectly integrated and you have this kind of poised, focused dryness about the whole thing. Engine oil and seaweed and tar and rope all mingle. Tropical fruits still rolling around between everything. The palate feels more distillate driven than the nose which felt more dominated by the cask. The overall effect though is a perfect union of the two which comes across as even greater than the sum of its parts. With water: Not sure how it's possible but the whisky has become bigger, fatter and broader. A total masterpiece. A canvas of broad strokes and infinitesimal detail in between. Kippery, smouldering beach wood, mineral aspects, some citrus emerges, more coal hearths, tea tree oil, peat oils, more tar, more hessian, more dark, unctuous sherry fruit. More of everything! Finish: A vast spectrum of oily peat extracts, ancient sherry, rancio, various fruits and pitch black coffee. The darkest chocolate, simmering phenols, a whole NHS of medicines. A nervous, lithe, shimmering dance of flavours on slow fade. Comments: some whiskies, for all sorts of reasons, are powerfully moving but perhaps not as spellbinding on a technical level, which can give you pause for thought when trying to sum them up in a tasting note with a score attached. This, however, is one of those hyper-rarities where the technical brilliance and emotional intensity are so perfectly synchronised that it leaves no space in your mind for doubt. You cannot come away from this with any impression other than that you just tasted one of the greatest whiskies ever committed to glass. There is a melancholy about this whisky given that it is increasingly unlikely the dwindling number of bottles that remain will be opened. Indeed, the prices these fetch now make them more the stuff of wealth signalling and not really about whisky enthusiasm or culture anymore. All I can say is, I am glad to have been able to taste it.
SGP: 776 - 98 points.




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