Whisky Odyssey
Old-fashioned with a twist of the modern 

A good Laphroaig never hurt anyone

We were in a bar in downtown London visiting family, and we decided to enjoy some pub food. We ordered a delicious meat pie and, as the whisky enthusiast of the family contaminating everyone with my love for the drink, they looked at me for suggestions. The whisky menu was rather poorly stocked, so Laphroaig 10 years old seemed to be the most bold choice. My brother-in-law and me both got a decent glass (a tumbler, however) and enjoyed a wee few sips. Good stuff for a regular Saturday afternoon, and rather satisfying. It is just there that the Laphroaig fell right in its place. My brother was happy; we bought him a whole bottle for his 40th birthday (said bottled is pictured).

I am revisiting some of the standards in Islay whisky. We kicked off with Ardbeg two weeks ago. Laphroaig is the quintessential Islay whisky, right? I remember feeling the excitement in my belly when I bought a bottle in my early days of exploring. This is a dangerous whisky I have here under my arm. 

This will challenge me! Of the regular offerings, I adored the very first Quarter Cask expressions, and of course the numerous indie bottles. But let’s go back to basics.

Laphroaig 10 years old, bottled at 40 % abv


Makeup: No information to be found. Predominantly ex-bourbon casks. Coloured with caramel (the colour is indeed bright golden). My sample is from around 2020.

General impressions: Well, it is a peated whisky, that box can be checked. I reckon the smell that used to be iodine is still there, but it has tilted towards a more lemony fresh side. It is a version of Laphroaig that won’t offend anyone. But will it please the more experienced whisky enthusiast? Seems to me you are better off with shelving out a few more coins and get the cask strength expressions at 10 years old. It packs more punch. I blame the subdued experience entirely on the low abv.

The mouthfeel is very soft, and almost no bite on the tongue. Here I feel the 40 % at its weakest. But it is hugely compensated by the finish, which is full of flavour and bite, and lingers like a smoky whisky should. The sweetness on the tongue is a contrast with the (traditional) ashtray feeling you get upon swallowing.

Conclusion: Saved by the finish, where the Laphroaig shows it true colours. It gives me a dual feeling. On the one hand, the Laphroaig 10 is delivering on its promise, and then some. On the other hand I keep feeling I want, I need something more from this classic Islay single malt. That said, this bottle is never out of place in your cabinet. Plain and simple, good peaty stuff.

Score: 82 points

Disclaimer: taken from a self-owned bottle.

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