I. Love. Laphroaig. I do. Them and Kilchoman are my favorite Islay whiskies, but with that love comes serious scrutiny of NDP and IB releases like this Single Cask Nation Laphroaig 5 Years. This is a whisky that intrigues me for many reasons but first, a word from our bottler.
In Single Cask Nation’s Words: Single Cask Nation Laphroaig 5 Years
“This cask bottling, distilled in May 2011, was matured in a refill bourbon hogshead. It was bottled at cask strength in September 2016 at 57.9% ABV. Cask #185 yielded 312 bottles. Oily and coastal with a discernible mineraliness the lemon meringue pie and coal dust notes on the nose give way to a salty and syrupy experience in the mouth.”
Before we dive into the Single Cask Nation Laphroaig 5 Years review below I wanted to point out something that a lot of other people have too; the color. For a 5-year-old Laphroaig it’s incredibly dark so I reached out to the guys at SCN and the only thing we came up with is that it might have been re-charred before the spirit went into it since SCN never uses caramel coloring in their single casks.
Single Cask Nation Laphroaig 5 Years Info
Region: Islay, Scotland
Cask Strength | Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
Single Cask Nation Laphroaig 5 Years Review
Mesquite grilled meat, butterscotch, lemon curd, salt, honied fruit and a light bit of herbally spice with a bit of raisin.
Mesquite, buttercream frosting, a waxy sweetness, toffee, charred fruit, honey, saline, iodine and a light bit of spice.
Long fade of farmy malt, mesquite, oily petrol-like funk and dark sweets.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Decent balance, full body and a thick oily feel.
Here’s the deal with the Single Cask Nation Laphroaig 5 Years… it’s confusing. There are aspects of this whisky that make me want to yell Caol Ila. There are others that remind me of the Del Bac Dorado (Mesquite smoked single malt). There is even a character to it that makes me lift and eyebrow and whisper “Lagavulin?”, but there is little about this whisky that makes me think Laphroaig… but I still like it.
Doing a SBS with the Laphroaig 10 I do find some some similarities in the overall character, but I never hit that “yeah, this is Laphroaig” moment with it. I’m not insinuating the SCN guys pulled a fast one on us, but for a Laphroaig it’s a-typical; the overall character doesn’t quite line up with what I’ve come to know and love about Laphroaig.
This is the beauty of single casks like this Single Cask Nation Laphroaig 5 Years. Whatever was in the cask to give it this dark color affected the whisky making it a wholly unique representation of a well known distillery. It’s a small, segmented and totally different view of Laphroaig and adds to my mental catalog of what this distillery can hold.
SCORE: 87/100 (B+)
Single Cask Nation Laphroaig 5 Years Review - Score Breakdown
- Nose - 87
- Palate - 87
- Finish - 87
- Balance, Body & Feel - 87
Single Cask Nation Laphroaig 5 Years is good. It’s odd, but it’s good.