Laphroaig – 10 Year Old – Cask Strength – Single Malt Whisky – Batch 5 – February 2013 | 57.2% (114.4 Proof)
Color/Appearance: Nicely amber for such a peat bomb. Freshly toasted barrels are certainly giving it some added depth of color. I like this older bottle design with the red stamp showing the batch details. It seems to resembles a warning. This whisky may be too intense for you. Don’t come crying to us if you don’t like it, you were warned. For peat heads like myself that warning just serves to get me excited to pour some. Lets get to it.
Nose: Right away I am in awe. The fumes from a vintage two-stroke motorcycle engine at a petrol station. Dry gauze in a cabinet since the first world war. A wedge of lime with salt. The aroma of ginger flowers and fresh squeezed orange juice. Dried sardines and seaweed. Amazing. I love smelling this whisky. It has everything that I love about great peated whisky. I found little smoke in the regular ten year old but this has it in oodles. My heart races when these aromas are released. You are trapped in a burning building made of peat and when the fire crew comes to rescue you, you refuse.
Palate: A honey glazed bundt cake dripping with lemon frosting greets you. Following that is a crush of spicy graphite, limestone and black pepper. Now the cake is back and there are candied lemon and orange rinds inside. But then you are given a spoonful of an herbal tincture and after you take a sip you notice the spoon was covered in ash. Strange and so yummy. It’s one of those things that you have to experience. Suddenly black licorice and a chocolate orange arrive, further adding to what has already been a deep ride. When you turn up the volume, from the regular ten year old, you get to hear things that were indiscernible before. The full expressiveness of the spirit can surprise you.
Finish: Dry coco and medicinal peat, with a long slow fade. The power and warmth of the attack are still so fresh. A little bit goes a long way. That is what is so nice about cask strength expressions, a small amount contains so much flavor that enjoying each sip can last much longer. My my this stuff goes on and on. It seems to almost change your palate chemically and you wonder if things will ever taste the same. They won’t. Feels like you have been using a wad of peat as if it was chewing tobacco. Then a gentle kiss of oak and a small puff of smoke. Time to take another sip.
Overall: Wow, I really wish I had tried this stuff sooner. Wonderful concentration of peaty old style Islay flavors. There is a ton of depth here and the strong mix of medicinal and smoky peat really is a showstopper. Your senses will be filled with this whisky. You will not sip it and forget what you are drinking. Now I am getting upset that I only have this small sample bottle. I hope new batches are as excellent as this has been. I am compelled to find out. Thanks so much to Florin for the sample.