Recently the lads at Laphroaig got the idea to take some traditional Laphroaig juice, which is aged in ex-bourbon barrels and give it an additional or “final” maturation in brand new American Oak barrels. During this maturation the barrels spent at least 6 months in the warmest parts of the Laphroaig warehouse (ie highest) during the warmest part of the year to ensure the wood fully expanded so the whisky could get in and absorb some of that American Oak flavor, but the idea didn’t stop there.
After creating the “heart” of the Select they then vatted (blended) it with some of their Quarter Cask, PX Cask and Triple Wood whisky at varying levels and created 6 different combinations. Those 6 combinations then went out to some of the Friend’s Of Laphroaig who voted for their favorite vatting. That winning blend is what’s in this bottle and in my glass right now while writing this. Now for the big question… how does it taste?
Laphroaig Select Review
Distiller: D. Johnston & Co. (Laphroaig)
Honey, malt, caramel and a noticeably more delicate peat than is traditionally in a glass of Laphroaig. Mix in some notes of vanilla, pear heavy orchard fruit, Scotch spice and an ambiguous sweetness that threads through the whole nose and you end up with a rather a-typical Laphroaig aroma. The medicinal and Iodine notes are not very apparent and it comes across a bit light.
Peat moves up and brings along toasted nuts and salted caramel. Malt, vanilla, honey and wood are close behind with some orchard fruit bringing up the rear. The more acrid and medicinal notes are present on the palate, but come across as faint hints that fade in and out.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
A good balance of light flavors and aromas that pair well with the medium body and relaxed texture.
Peat, honey, vanilla, orchard fruit, graham, wood and a hint of Novocain settle in for long slow fade.
This is a dram that has received some visceral hate online recently and I can honestly say I don’t think it deserves it. To me the problem stems from it carrying the Laphroaig label. If it were released under a different name from a 3rd party I think a lot of people would be singing a different tune. However, because it’s Laphroaig and it isn’t the punch in the face we’re all used to people have gotten upset and trashed what is actually a decent whisky that can be described as delicate and nuanced, which are traditionally not words used to describe Laphroaig and I think that’s what’s tripping most folks up. Not that it’s a bad whisky, because it’s not, but that it’snot a traditional Laphroaig.
I’m putting my stake in the ground and saying that I like the Laphroaig Select. Yes it’s lighter in flavor, aroma and body than their signature 10, but it also has some great notes that aren’t readily found in punchier 10 and 10 CS that I really appreciate. In fact my only real complaint is the proof. I wish they had release it at least at 86 proof like the 10 year because it feels like the added water might have cut a richness that could have came from vatting all of these whiskies together and an even higher proof (at least 92, but cask-strength would be nice too) could have let the unique qualities of each shine a bit more.
*Disclosure: This was graciously sent to me by the company for the purposes of this review. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.