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Friday, May 24, 2024

Mathilda Malt: Laphroaig 18 year old 1998 cask 700040, Hand-filled at the Distillery

Two life chapters ago, I attended the Laphroaig Water to Whisky Experience and LOVED it. (The distillery no longer offers that experience, though the more expensive "Uisge" tour seems similar.) The WOWE ended with a 250mL bottling from one of three different casks on offer. Two casks were good, one was terrific.

I uncorked my wee bottle last year, and now all that's left is 60mL and a single bud vase.

Distillery: Laphroaig
Owner: Beam Suntory
Region: Southern Islay
Bottler: Me! (at the distillery)
Age: 18 years (1998-2016)
Maturation: sherry butt
Alcohol by Volume: 59.3%
(from my bottle)

I'm going to consume all 60mL for this tasting which will probably send me straight to bed afterwards. To change things up, I'm going to taste/nose the whisky diluted first.

DILUTED TO ~48%abv, or < 1½ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

Grilled pineapple and pork ribs greet the nose first, followed by citronella and a very briny peat. Apricots and almond extract linger behind, and a Hampton-style diesel note materializes after 30 minutes. The palate starts sooty and salty, with oranges, smoked figs, and Thai chiles quickly emerging. Thai basil and more sea salt fills in the background. Slightly sweeter than the palate, the finish features the Thai chiles and Thai basil up front, with apricots and salty smoke in the distance.


Peaches, pears, apricots, roses, honeydew, almond butter, and citronella meet savory smoke and oysters in the nose. The palate begins savory, smoky, and sweet, with sea salt and fresh ginger in the background. It takes on Mexican chocolate and a mineral note after 30+ minutes. It finishes with sweet citrus, ginger, Mexican chocolate, and smoked almonds.


A massive whisky, even when diluted, this Laphroaig somehow thumps one's senses while also being very moreish. The possibly-refill cask adds a little treat here and there, but mostly lets the spirit roar. It's not exactly the desired pour when the night simmers at 30ºC — it's more at home on a 3ºC evening — but I expected as much. It's a hardy style that the distillery should focus on now, as they keep venturing further away from bourbon casks.

Availability - All gone
Pricing - None
Rating - 89

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