Laphroaig 10yo Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
43% ABV, 86 Proof
Around $35, Widely Available
What The Distillery Says:
Laphroaig, pronounced “La-froyg”, is an all-malt Scotch whisky from the remote island of Islay in the Western Isles of Scotland. Laphroaig is a Gaelic word, and means “the beautiful hollow by the broad bay”.
In the making of Laphroaig, malted barley is dried over a peat fire. The smoke from this peat, found only on the island of Islay, gives Laphroaig its particularly rich flavour.
Laphroaig is best savoured neat, or with a little cool water.
What Richard Says:
Nose: Vegetal and peaty in a way that’s second only to Ardbeg. I also get vanilla, wood chips, and fresh pine straw. With water the peat fades and it becomes very nutty with hints of leather.
Palate: Creamier on the palate than Ardbeg, but after an initial settling the peat begins to dominate. Seaweed with a mild brine but not overly salty. Water opens a light honey note but kills everything else.
Finish: On the finish the salty brine kicks it up a notch. Very little burn. The wood and peat dominate the finish but not really in a pleasant way.
Comments: For peaty Islays I like Laphroaig better than Ardbeg but not as much as Lagavulin. I feel that Laphroaig is a whisky that ages well but tends to need that aging. It goes really well with seafood or cigars. The 15 Year or the Quarter Cask are better but this isn’t a bad entry to Islay. Oddly enough the profile of this dram changes over the course of the time spent with it. On my initial tasting it is good but not overwhelmingly appealing. However, as you take more sips the dram seems to open up and become a more comforting dram. A nice quiet even by the fire drink.
What Matt Says:
Nose: Peat (of course), roasted nuts, orange pith, iodine and oak are strong on the nose. With water, the peat fades, pulling the citrus and nut notes forward. A little more water takes the nose to orange essential oils.
Palate: Peat (of course), brine, vanilla, orange juice and buttermilk. A little water brings out some milk chocolate and honey (like a Toblerone).
Finish: Long on the peat with a touch of seawater and very little burn.
Comments: This is a sturdy whisky (i.e. it holds up to water). Laphroaig is what a lot of people reach for when they first try an Islay malt. I think that is not a bad thing. It’s definitely a good entrance to Islay (but a little burly for the Gateway Series). There is a creaminess and complexity that Arbeg 10yo lacks and the price point is much more agreeable than the Lagavulin 16yo (which Richard and I agree is the best of the three).
Overall Rating: Average, a great entry into Islay whiskies.