#OpinionsMatter: Laphroaig 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Review
| 2017-05-08T23:21:41+00:00 Last updated: August 26th, 2019|
Isle of Islay
#OpinionsMatter: Laphroaig 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky ReviewCharles-Philippe2019-08-26T09:34:48-04:00
We’ve already covered the Laphroaig with an in-depth distillery overview as well as a review of the 2018 Cairdeas expression. However, with it being admittedly among my favourite Scotch expressions, I felt compelled to explore the infamous 10 Year Old single malt.
In this review, you will discover this Laphroaig’s 10 Year Old Single Malt with me as we explore the following topics:
Laphroaig’s 10 Year Old needs no introduction as it’s a renowned Single Malt. A marriage of Glenmachrie peated malt and the Kilbride Steam’s heathery waters, the 10 Year Old continues to divide opinion with its daringly bold flavours. Founded in 1815 on the Isle of Islay, Laphroaig continues to produce its own maltings today. Its infamy is worn with a badge of honour and has given birth to Laphroaig’s #OpinionsMatter marketing campaign.
With a medium caramel hue that’s reminiscent of an aged Sauternes white, you’d expect a particularly light-bodied expression. Swirling the whisky in my Glencairn’s glass, I also noticed some quite thin and surprisingly slick legs that trickled quickly to the base.
Meanwhile, a few drops of water created some beautiful swirls that curled under the droplets. This promises a high viscometric potential and indicates a non-chill filtration.
Notes: Brine, Peat, Seaweed, Liquorice
Laphroaig instantly reveals its deceptively full body once the nose is close to the glass. A burst of brine fill the nostrils alongside thick peat smoke and chewy liquorice.
The bouquet is intense and complex while remaining relatively concentrated on its select aromas. Nevertheless, it’s a vivid experience with characteristic Hebridean notes.
Laphroaig’s Palate & Mouthfeel
Primary Tastes: Salty, Sweet
Mouthfeel: Peppery, Furry
Opening: Medicinal TCP, Dried Fig, Cordite
Heart: Cardamon, Aniseed, Charred Coal
Finish: Long [Smouldering Rubble, Smoked Kipper, Birch Tar]
Overall, we have a unique blend of sweet and salty flavours that marry across the palate. Opening with a detonation of medicinal TCP notes followed by smoking cordite, succulent dried figs briefly reveal themselves before sinking under fiery spices.
The iconic TCP note persists into the heart and interacts with sharp aniseed and warm cardamon spice. There’s a distinctive note of charred coal that tingles the palate and coagulates the saliva.
The mouthfeel is quite peppery due to the spicy notes but also reveals a furry fabric texture that dries the mouth. It’s surprisingly velvety yet youthful in nature.
Finally, we draw towards a long finish of peat and brine that are reminiscent of heavily-smoked kippers. There’s a distinctive note of birch tar as well as something I’d liken to smouldering rubble the morning after the distillery burned to the ground.
Being at a low 40% ABV, this is a Scotch that can indeed be enjoyed neat. Nevertheless, it’s the heavy peat notes rather than the alcohol bloom that renders it rather strong.
However, I found that adding a few drops of water considerably improved the flavour and opened up a plethora of aromas.
With its brash and bold flavours, Laphroaig may not be an easy expression to pair with meals. However, I’ve come to enjoy it with thick, dark chocolate. Furthermore, it may indeed marry well with chargrilled red meat such as a bloody rib steak with a crusty exterior.
Otherwise, you could likely enjoy it with thoroughly-smoke seafood. A kipper would be great but I’d recommend it with an Arbroath Smokie if you know where to get one.
Finally, cigar smokers ought to consider heavier, full-bodied sticks in order to complement Laphroaig’s rich palate. A well-aged Maduro cigar would be ideal but I really enjoyed this with a “The Late Hour” Churchill from Davidoff.
Overall Experience & Value For Money
Presented in the iconic black-on-white matte paper label that echoes the distillery’s facade, Laphroaig is instantly recognisable. Bold lettering is evenly spaced with the Royal Warrant proudly presented at the top.
The tube is quite similar with a white matte paper finish as well as green strips at the top and bottom. However, there’s also a stencil-style silhouette of the distillery beneath the founding year.
As for the cork, it’s of solid quality and encased in an attractive white cap that bears the silhouette of a still.
In terms of occasion, this is a whisky that can be drunk anytime, anywhere. It’s perfectly suitable as either a casual or formal dram that you can enjoy along or among friends.
Similarly, it’s quite affordable if you know where to look. In the USA, it retails for around $60 whereas I picked up a bottle for 30€ in France. However, our alcohol has a tendency to be much cheaper!
Shameless and unapologetic, Laphroaig is an archetypal expression from Islay. It’s heavy notes of smoky peat and brine have fuelled its reputation, leading it to become cherished by some yet loathed by others.
If you’re seeking the quintessential Islay single malt, it may be argued that this isn’t it. In fact, you could probably regard it as a caricature of the island’s whisky rather than the definitive expression.
Nevertheless, this is an obligatory expression to be owned by any whisky enthusiast, experienced or otherwise. Indeed, some will claim that this isn’t a beginner’s dram. However, if you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, Laphroaig’s 10 Year Old single malt will certainly help there.
"A rich and peaty experience. As if someone used barrels of gunpowder to blow up a whisky distillery that sank into the sea. The marriage of brine, peat and pungent spices is an experience to be lavished."
Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★
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Charles-Philippe's work has covered a broad range of subjects from cigars and fragrances to wine and spirits. Fascinated by how history and culture together form the unique contemporary identities of alcoholic beverages, his articles follow an in-depth exploration of their development through a combination of tradition and innovation.