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Friday, November 29, 2019

Laphroaig 10 year old, 40%abv version (distillery mini, 2016)

Yes, it's time to taste my rent from my very own square foot of Islay. This mini was presented to me, along with the coordinates of my plot (and a flag, I think), when I checked in at Laphroaig distillery three years ago.

This also marks the first time I've reviewed the classic Laphroaig 10yo at its lower European market strength of 40%abv. Because of its low alcohol content, I had it batting leadoff in this week's Laphroaig lineup (see here and here for the other two whiskies).

Distillery: Laphroaig
Owner: Beam Suntory
Region: Islay
Maturation: ex-bourbon barrels
Age: minimum 10 years
Bottled: March 2016
Alcohol by Volume: 40%
Chill-filtration? Yes
Caramel colored? Yes

What's most surprising about the nose is its lack of the familiar iodine-seaweed-medicinal whiff. Rather it's very close to the barley, fresh and biscuity with honey and green apples. The peat is leafy and herbal with a teeny bit of toasted seaweed. Hints of honeydew and elephant exhibit eek out after 10 minutes. While the palate is smokier than the nose, it feels watery in the mouth. Salt, pepper and sugar in the background. A little bit of dried oregano and marinated banana peppers. It finishes with a "seaweedy truffle salt" per my notes. It's also smoky and sweet with a moment of dried herbs.

This was so disappointing, I didn't continue the lineup until I finished this pour because it would have gotten bulldozed by the other Laphroaigs. Though I enjoyed the nose's youth, its notes could have come from a decent young malt from many other distilleries. The palate is damned close to peated blend territory with its heavy filtration, colorant and dilution. Where's the Laphroaig in this Laphroaig?

All that being said, I would never dump this down the sink. It serves its whisky purpose without offending, though its lack of offense is sort of offensive.

Availability - All over Europe
Pricing - €30-€45
Rating - 79