The no-water-added cask strength brother of the mighty Laphroaig 10. Clocking in at a whopping 114.4 proof this bruiser of whisky is as close as you can get to tasting it straight from the barrel in the comfort of your own home. However this is not a single barrel. They still take a bunch of barrels and blend them together to create each batch (like Wild Turkey Rare Breed), they just don’t add any water to cut it down to the 43% ABV of the regular Laphroaig 10.
In addition to being cask strength it also seems to be non-chill filtered. Laphroaig doesn’t expressly state that it’s NCF, but they do say that “Original Cask Strength Laphroaig is barrier-filtered only just, to remove the small char particles present” which denotes that other filtering options could be in play. To know what that other filter option is we just need to look at the story behind the Quarter Cask which says “Finally it was decided to totally eliminate the process of ‘chill filtering’ as it had not been invented in the time of the Johnston Brothers”. So what does all that actually mean? Well its’s a pretty simple equation really. NCF + CS = You’re getting a lot more whisky for that $23 leap.
Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength Review
Bottled: Feb 2013
Age: 10 years
Distiller: D. Johnston & Co. (Laphroaig)
Gold with a bit of orange
Smoke comes first and it reminds me of a BBQ with it’s initial mesquite like quality. Peat and pear heavy orchard fruit follow in it’s wake and bring some malt, vanilla, orange rind and antiseptic along with them. This alone is creating a fantastic aroma, but add in the hints of briny seaweed that float across the bottom and it becomes a fantastically multi-faceted sniffing experience.
PEAT comes marching through, leading a procession of vanilla, citrus, smoked meat, brine, smoky char, pear heavy orchard fruit, malt, honey, wood and baking spices. It’s an amazing cavalcade of flavor that delivers sip after sip.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Perfectly balanced with a thick full body, a rich oily feel and only a slight bite even at it’s full 114.4 proof.
Smoky char partners up with some emerging dark fruit, orchard fruit, salt, wood, vanilla and mint to create a wonderfully long slow finish.
I enjoy this whisky and the way it’s myriad facets play off each other with savory, sweet, smoky and salty all working in tandem to create a very tasty dram. Adding a splash of water definitely kicks it up a notch, taking the whisky to another level with the smoke and peat vitally exploding from the glass and the sweet notes moving up several notches to keep in step. A deeper, richer, more complex version of the regular Laphroaig 10, but at 1 1/2 times the price it’s something I won’t be buying regularly, but definitely will be keeping a bottle around as an occasional companion to it’s daily drinkable sibling.