...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Laphroaig 10 year old Cask Strength, batch 011

The plot escaped me somewhere along the way. I was going to review each batch of Laphroaig's cask strength expression each year.

005 was the weakest batch to date.
006 was better but not quite there.
007 was very good.
I had 008 when I visited the distillery.
I bought 009, then gifted it to a friend.

Thank the whisky gods (who are otherwise still on their lunch break) that MAO sent me a sample of this year's batch 011. And yes, MAO and I are doing simul-review of this one too! Yay! Here’s his review!

It’s been a very MAO-y week, has it not? You're welcome.

Distillery: Laphroaig
Owner: Beam Suntory
Region: Islay
Maturation: ex-bourbon barrels
Age: minimum 10 years
Batch: 011, Feb 2019
Chill-filtration? No
Caramel colored? Probably
Alcohol by Volume: 58.6%

There's a low lemon/citron/citronella rumble in the nose and a bonfire at the beach (like an Ardmore but three times the volume). Eucalyptus smoke and pine needles in the salty air. Charred beef and mustard seed. Brown sugar and Beam-like peanuts arise after a lot of time in the glass. Big smoldering smoky kiln notes in the palate. Then some brine, seaweed, menthol and a hint of bitterness. It's moderately sweet with some cinnamon candy notes. It finishes with smoke, cinnamon, smoke, limoncello, smoke, bitterness, smoke.

DILUTED TO ~48%abv, or 1⅓ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The peat reads greener on the nose, less smoky. A brief farmy whiff. Eucalyptus, mint leaf, lemon and hot sand. The palate becomes sweeter but not as sugary as batches 005 and 006. It also gets brinier and tangier, while staying smoky and lightly bitter. The finish stays a good length with mild smoke, salt, bitterness and tanginess.

There's nothing technically wrong with this batch. It's neither oaky nor too sweet. There's plenty of salty seaweed things and heavy smoke. But I can't seem to find anything to rave about. The nose is right on, but the palate is, well, fine. Simple and reserved. No "Oh goddamn this Laphroaig Glory" going on.

Per the picture above, this whisky had two sparring partners: the first batch of Ben Nevis Traditional (which it bested) and Westland's Peated single malt. It did not best the Westland, which says something about either Westland or Laphroaig. Or both.

Have I built up my expectations too high for these Laphroaig CS batches? Or is it Lagavulin 12yo CS's fault for being so damned good year after year? I don't know. Batch 011 is good and so is its (pre-tariff) price. But though there is goodness there is no glory.

Availability - Available in many of these American states
Pricing - $60 to $90 as of this post's date
Rating - 86