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Friday, May 13, 2016

Single Malt Report: Laphroaig 17 year old 1997 Signatory for Binny's (cask 3354)

On Monday I reviewed a 15 year old Signatory Laphroaig.  On Wednesday, it was a 16 year old Signatory Laphroaig.  Today, it's......a 17 year old Signatory Laphroaig.  This one is being sold exclusively through Binny's.  Yes, I'm reviewing a whisky that is actually still being sold!  We can all thank MAO for this review, as he cut me in on his bottle split.  He reviewed it in March.  Here goes my take...

Distillery: Laphroaig
Ownership: Beam Suntory
Independent BottlerSignatory
Age: 17 years
Maturation: Hogshead
Cask: 3354
Alcohol by Volume: 54.7%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No

The peat in the nose reads reasonably large, mostly as ash and elephant stall.  Large notes of menthol and grapefruit. Moderate notes of cotton candy, mothballs, and cheap plastic toys.  After a while in the glass the peat gets a little greener, mossier, and organic.

Rich sweet peat in the palate.  Mint, salt, and an herbal bitterness.  It gets sweeter with time, but doesn't go too far in that direction.  Lemon and lime candy.  A brief spicy zip.  A dessert Laphroaig.

Lemons, salt, and black pepper in the finish.  Peat candy and simple syrup.

WITH WATER (~46%abv)
Greener peat in the nose.  Orange peels, cocoa powder, apple juice, and a hint of manure.

The palate becomes more complex.  A bigger better bitterness.  Mustard, chili oil, some tart citrus, a little bit of sugar, and more smoke than moss.

That good herbal bitterness carries through into the finish.  There's still some smoke and sugar, along with the tart and tangy citrus.

While the whisky works either way, I think I like it better with water.  The nose comes into focus and the palate improves, pushing back much of the sweetness to reveal more depth.  Overall this one falls between this week's two previous Laphroaig reviews.  There's some quality dirty peat from the 15yo and the sweets from the 16yo.

Though MAO liked this one more or less as much as I did, we found different things going on.  He caught less peat on the nose, and the mothballs appeared once he added water.  He found that the palate got sweeter with water, while I saw it going the opposite direction.  But we both found plenty of citrus notes and, ultimately, plenty of Laphroaig peat.

Availability - Exclusively through Binny's
Pricing - originally $170, occasionally on sale for $130
Rating - 86

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