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Monday, May 9, 2016

Single Malt Report: Laphroaig 15 year old 1996 Signatory (cask 8511)

My wife loves Laphroaig.  One time I opened up a bottle of Laphroaig Quarter Cask and a few seconds later I heard her shout from the other side of the two-bedroom apartment, "I can smell that Laphroaig from here."  So in honor of Mother's Day, I'm doing three Laphroaig reviews this week.  Three Signatory Laphroaig reviews to be precise.  God bless the Laphroaig stank.

But it wasn't always "God bless the Laphroaig stank."  I couldn't stand the stuff when I first tried it.  I found it gross, like sipping piss from an ash tray.  But now I find it delicious, like sipping piss from an ash tray.

Anyway, if you ever meet Kristen, please be sure to offer her some Laphroaig, especially if it's cask strength raw refill ex-bourbon cask Laphroaig.  Brownie points!**

Distillery: Laphroaig
Ownership: Beam Suntory
Independent BottlerSignatory
Age: 15 years (November 26, 1996 - June 7, 2012)
Maturation: Hogshead
Cask: 8511
Alcohol by Volume: 54.3%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No
Many thanks to Aaron of Booze Dancing for this sample!

The nose hits first with the classic 'Phroaig pheeling that some of the current OBs are missing: a wallop of band-aids, antiseptic, iodine, and anise.  Then eucalyptus and salted caramels.  A slight metallic note.  And far in the distance, lychee and mango.

The palate is big on the herbal bitterness up front.  It's very mossy, with some cinders lingering behind.  Then a mild sweetness and fresh lime juice.  With time the cinders pick up and smoke billows forward.  A bit of peach and pineapple appear.

The very long finish is dingy, stinky, smoky.  Hints of citrus, salt, pineapple, and black pepper in the background.

Dare I add water?  Yes, I dare.  I'll drop it down to their Unchillfiltered Collection abv.

WITH WATER (~46%abv)
The nose calms down, picks up some florals and little bit of oregano.  Moss replaces the medicinal notes.

The palate barely changes.  It gets a little sweeter and picks up a spicy zing.  Some black licorice too.

The finish is shorter and sweeter.  Almost all smoke with a hint of mint.

It's not the most complex Laphroaig one'll find, but it delivers the distilled dosage many of us dearly miss from the current 10yo and Cask Strength OBs.  So that counts for A LOT.  If you find the whisky a bit too much, then I recommend adding a little bit of water as that settles it down slightly.  But if you're still dreaming of the official Cask Strength pre-005 batches, this is your hit right here.

Availability - Might be sold out
Pricing - a couple US retailers have this, or a sister cask, going for $170+  !O_O!
Rating - 88

**I'm hoping she'll comment below on how awesome Laphroaig is!