Laphroaig Single Malt is very reliable for connoisseurs and usually the casks aren’t that different from each other, but now and then one stands out (positively or negatively). This time it was different, as you will see. In my review of these four recent bottlings from 1998 (four pale Bourbon cask versions), I am not going to describe the obvious Laphroaig character they all share, I am trying to point out the differences – head to head:
Laphroaig 13 y.o. Single Cask Collection 30.06.1998 – 2011, 60,8%
Comment: Very typical, clean and minerally fresh. Lime juice, Italian herbs, iodine, brine, cocoa, chalk, bacon and pepper. It becomes really big and satisfying in the mouth (also acidity) and finishes just like a Laphroaig should, we even get the beloved matchstick sulphur, iodine and coal smoke after some time, looooong. Everything is there, it is powerful but needs no water. Simply a great selection by our friend Roland Hinterreiter, who hosts the Austrian Whisky & Spirits Festival in Linz on April 13th, 2012 (we have a stand there with rarities). Recommendation!
Laphroaig 13 y.o. Archives (whiskybase.com) 14.05.1998 – Dec. 2011, Bourbon Hogshead 700228, 54,2%
Comment: On the vegetal side, nettles, camphor, dry green tea, parsley, moss, lime, apples, hints of milk, pepper and maritime freshness. A good green daily dram.
Laphroaig 13 y.o. Malts of Scotland, 5.1998 – 5.2011, MoS Bourbon Hogshead 5920, 53,4%
Comment:Earthy peat, moss, rooty soil, iodine, peat smoke and tires, but also the fruity (apples) and limey aspects. it becomes more farmyardy on the palate. Nice with some mineral acidity but it could have a bit more ooommpphh. Late in the quite long finish, flints, sweet iodine, oil, tires and sulphur return for a great finale. Again a good choice by Thomas.
Laphroaig 13 y.o. Malts of Scotland 5.1998 – 5.2011, MoS Bourbon Hogshead 5921, 52,9%
Comment: A bit closed at first, spicy and vegetal, coffee bean, brine, oil, later it becomes fresher, but it lacks the expression that the others have. This Laphroaig seems almost like watered down but is still nice. One for drinkers of smooth drams.