Malt Nuts Laphroaig Tasting

Malt Nuts Laphroaig Tasting 9

On a warm early-summer’s eve the Malt Nuts once again convened and this time we had a thirst for peat. It had been too long since we’d indulged in an evening of inky iodine, smoke, ozone and fruit; we were long overdue fo Malt Nuts Laphroaig Tasting. We set our sights on indie bottlings aged between 10 – 15 years and prepared for what had the potential to be an amazing night.

Coordinates were sent out, bottles were blinded, the lineup was assembled, kosher food was consumed and then we set down to business. The rounds ended up being broken out as listed below, but before that let’s take a quick look at the history of this venerable house of peat.

 

Malt Nuts Laphroaig Tasting 1

A brief history of Laphroaig via Malt Madness

  • 1815 – Founded by Alexander and Donald Johnston (stayed in their family till 1954)
  • 1954 – Ian Hunter dies and leaves the distillery to his secretary Bessie Williamson because he has no heirs.
  • 1968 – Expanded from four to six stills
  • 1972 – A seventh still was added
  • 2005 – Acquired by Beam

Its true history is storied and winding, there’s an entire book dedicated to it, but Malt Madness nor I have time to get through it all right now – we have whisky to get into for peat’s sake! Speaking of, here’s how the rounds ended up being grouped.

Malt Nuts Laphroaig Tasting 8

 

The Malt Nuts Laphroaig Tasting Rounds

  1. Laphroaig Tasting Round 1: Battlehills
  2. Laphroaig Tasting Round 2: Wine Finished Laphroaig
  3. Laphroaig Tasting Round 3: 2015 Cairdeas
  4. Laphroaig Tasting Round 4: Cask Strength Laphroaig

A big thanks to our gracious host and away we go.

Laphroaig Tasting Round 1: Battlehills

Malt Nuts Laphroaig Tasting 2
1A: Battlehill Laphroaig 13: 43%

  • Nose: Orchard fruit, vanilla, honey, peat, salinity and a bit of plastic.
  • Palate: Fruit, graham, peat, honey, saline, malt and a bit roasty.
  • Finish: Long -> waxy and plasticy with some fruit and cinnamon oil.
  • Overall: B+ (87-89) Plasticy might sound like a negative, but it’s a note that’s signature to Laphroaig and part of its unique phenolic-petrol-medicinal fingerprint. It was a great start to the night and instantly brightened my mood.

1B: Battlehill Laphroaig 10 years: 46% – ex-Bourbon

  • Nose: Plastic, peat, fruit, wax, copper and a light bit of spice.
  • Palate: Plastic, peat, fruit, copper, and a bit of lemon peel.
  • Finish: Long -> Peat, fruit and copper
  • Overall: B (83-86) Not bad. Not great, just kind of “meh”, but far from bad. I like the regular Laphroaig 10 more.

Laphroaig Tasting Round 2: Wine Finished Laphroaig

Malt Nuts Laphroaig Tasting 3
2A: Murray McDavid Laphroaig 11 years (98-2009): 46% – ex-Bourbon & ex-Pomerol

  • Nose: Sherry, peat, brown sugar, toffee, fruit, roasted malt and smoked meat.
  • Palate: Sherry, peat, brown sugar heavy dark sweets, dark fruit, malt, cinnamon and bacon.
  • Finish: Long -> Peat, toffee, dark fruit, malt and toffee
  • Overall: A- (90-92) Oh… yeah. I was sure this was going to be my favorite of the night, and it was close. It was lovely and delicious.

2B: Single Cask Exclusives Laphroaig: 50% – Moscatel Finish

  • Nose: Fruit, wine, peat, vanilla, malt, fruity hard candy and spice.
  • Palate: Fruit, wine, peat, vanilla, malt, fruity hard candy, spice and a touch biscuity.
  • Finish: Long -> Fruit, wine, peat and malt.
  • Overall: A- (90-92) Sweet with a light funky touch. This is just awesome, I’d happily drink this any night of the week.

Laphroaig Tasting Round 3: 2015 Cairdeas

Malt Nuts Laphroaig Tasting 4
3A: Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015: 51.5% – ex-Bourbon

  • Nose: Apple juice, peat, vanilla, plastic, wax, camphor, nuts, cinnamon, malt and damn… it just goes on!
  • Palate: Apple juice, peat, vanilla, plastic, wax, camphor, nuts, cinnamon, graham, malt and damn… it just goes on here too.
  • Finish: Long -> Fruit, peat, vanilla, plastic, camphor, malt and toffee.
  • Overall: A- (90-92) I was on the cusp of an A on this one, it felt like a nice deep version of a Laphroaig. After the reveal I bought 2 more bottles of this online… yeah, it’s that good. I should actually upgrade the score. It’s. Freaking. AWESOME.

Laphroaig Tasting Round 4: Cask Strength Laphroaig

Malt Nuts Laphroaig Tasting 5

4A: Exclusive Malts Laphroaig 11 years (05-16): 56.9% – Refill Hogshead

  • Nose: Apples, fruit, honey, peat, plastic and spice.
  • Palate: Orchard fruit, honey, plastic, peat, biscuits and peat.
  • Finish: Long -> Orchard fruit, honey, plastic, char, cherries and cinnamon.
  • Overall: A- (90-92) Yum. There’s something just so nice going on here. I want to sit and sniff and sip over and over. Delightful.

4B: Exclusive Malts Laphroaig 11 years (05-16): 54.2%

  • Nose: Plastic, butterscotch, cinnamon, peat and snickerdoodle.
  • Palate: Peat, plastic, butterscotch, cinnamon, fruit and snickerdoodle.
  • Finish: Long -> Peat, plastic, snickerdoodle
  • Overall: B+ (87-89) So weird… so so weird. It smells and tastes like a smoked snickerdoodle. It’s good, but it’s weird, but it’s good, but it’s weird, but it’s good…

4C: Exclusive Malts Laphroaig 10 years (05-2015): 54.2%

  • Nose: Plastic, butterscotch, toffee, tropical fruit, dried fruit, cinnamon and a touch of smoke.
  • Palate: Plastic, butterscotch, toffee, tropical fruit, dried fruit, cinnamon, sulfur and a bit of smoke.
  • Finish: Long -> Fruit, plastic, peat and ash.
  • Overall: B+ (87-89) The low levels of peat here is weird, I’ve had stronger peat in the 20+ year old Laphroaigs… weird.

4D: Exclusive Malts Laphroaig 11 years (05-16): 54.9% – Refill Hogshead

  • Nose: Cinnamon heavy spice, peat, fruit, malt , brown sugar and char.
  • Palate: Cinnamon heavy spice, peat, fruit, malt , brown sugar and char.
  • Finish: Long -> Cinnamon, malt, peat and spearmint.
  • Overall: A- (90-92) Yeah this is nice.

4E: Liquid Sun Laphroaig 13 years (98-11): 56.6% – Sherry Hogshead

  • Nose: Buttery dark fruit, dark sweets, sherry, smoked meat, plastic, apricot, camphor, sulfur, malt and holy crap it’s just not ending. Something new with every sniff.
  • Palate: Buttery dark fruit, dark sweets, sherry, smoked meat, plastic, apricot, camphor, sulfur, malt, spearmint, fruit cake and like the nose it’s just not ending. Something new with every sip.
  • Finish: Long -> Dark fruit, cinnamon oil, roasted malt, sherry, malt and plastic.
  • Overall: A (93-97) Oooh yeah this is good. It’s deep, it’s rich, it’s complex and after the meeting Barry added it to the short list (<10 malts) of epic malts done by the group over 70 tastings.

4F: Blackadder Laphroaig 13 years (98-11): 57% – X Cask

  • Nose: Banana, caramel, malt, peat, graham, butterscotch, toffee and cinnamon oil.
  • Palate: Banana, caramel, malt, peat, graham, butterscotch, toffee, cinnamon oil ad a bit of spearmint.
  • Finish: Long -> Oil, fruit, peat, and malt.
  • Overall: B+ (87-89) This was good, the banana note was a bit weird, but it was completely enjoyable. Like the rest I would enjoy having a bottle of it.

4G: Signatory Laphroaig 15 years (98-14): 59.1% – Refill Butt

  • Nose: Peat, apples, peat, plastic, cinnamon, pears, malt and spice.
  • Palate: Peat, apples, peat, plastic, cinnamon, pears, malt, toffee and spice.
  • Finish: Long -> Apples, honey, peat, cinnamon, toffee and plastic.
  • Overall: A- (90-92) A solid Laphroaig. This is the kind of thing I want to sip on while sitting in a large leather chair next to a fireplace.

Malt Nuts Laphroaig Tasting 6

Move over Talisker, this is now hands down this was the best Malt Nuts event I’ve ever been to. I wish I had every single one of these on my shelf, even 1B. And if you’re thinking it’s just because my whisky was my favorite of the night you’d be wrong, just look at all of those A- ratings. I’ve never given out more than 1 or 2 at an event and this night was littered with them. Awesome night… awesome.

Till next time, cheers!

Malt Nuts Laphroaig Tasting 7

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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6 Responses to Malt Nuts Laphroaig Tasting

  1. Hell yeah! I’d’ve LOVED to be part of this.

    How did you resist slipping the OB 10 and OB 10 CS into the mix?

    And what was the stratagem that led to the Cairdeas being in a league of its own, as it were?

    • Hey Ol’ Jas,

      I didn’t put the series together, that’s the head Malt Nut Barry. He always has an angle to try and get people to think about what they’re drinking. Cheers!

  2. Don’t think you know how jealous I am right now. 100 percent envious! I’m a laphroaig nut so this is neat to see. I agree with you on the 2015 cairdeas.. I have 4 bottles stashed away and have already gone through one! Utterly amazing

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