...where distraction is the main attraction.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Laphroaig 10 year old, bottled late 1980s

Long time friend and whiskyman, Bernardo, came into possession of this Duty Free Liter of Laphroaig 10yo:
Turns out, it was bottled at the end of the '80s. The top thin label appears to have fallen off due to old dried glue. We opened it up not too long ago—crumbly cork, of course—and gave it a substantial drink or two. When I visited Bernardo two weeks ago, he allowed me another substantial pour for review. Thank you, sir.
Distillery: Laphroaig
Owner at the time: Whitbread & Co.
Region: Islay
Maturation: ex-bourbon barrels
Age: minimum 10 years
Bottled: late 1980s
Chill-filtration? ???
Caramel colored? Maybe
Alcohol by Volume: 43%

Its color is a brassy gold. The nose begins with chocolate and malty drinks like Ovaltine and Yoo-hoo. There's vegetal peat (not smoky) and a gentle salty seaweed note. Apricots and limes show up early. With some air there's an acidic stone fruit note, like yellow plums. And a hint of fig too. Smoky, salty, savo(u)ry peat in the palate. A little bit of fudge and a nice leafy (young Kilkerran) note. There's a fat, almost rich, bitterness to it. Very little sweetness. A gentle tingly heat. It has a long warm finish of mild cigars, leaves, sea salt and toasted barley.

What a gorgeous nuanced thing Laphroaig once was. (See Serge waxing poetic about the 10s from that era.) It's rich without being oaky (attention: Beam Suntory), and challenging without being brutal. Though it's so very different than the Laphroaigs from this decade, and the previous, there are still matching DNA markers between those and this. Apologies for the ExhaustedWriterMetaphor™.

Perhaps there's older malt in the mix since the scotch market was still limping about at that time. Or maybe the folks at the distillery knew how to produce a stunning whisky at 10 years of age back then. I can only dream that someone—likely not under corporate ownership—cracks that code at a distillery somewhere in the world in my lifetime.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - ???
Rating - 91