The Laphroaig 10 Year Old is basically the Islay taste in a bottle. Laphroaig create the most phenolic, smokey, peaty whiskies in the world, and the 10 year old is a fine example of these flavors. It has no pretensions of being a particularly balanced complex whisky but manages to achieve both in its own way. I was surprised to find that I hadn’t posted a review of this whisky, as it is one of my go-to’s when purchasing a glass at a bar.
The nose is immensely powerful – an earthy quality like farm soil after a rain, along with bonfire smokiness, iodine, brine, cigar ash and salmon. There is also a minty freshness akin to someone’s breath after chewing a mint flavored chewing gum, and a hint of boot polish.
To taste there is a sharp saltiness initially which gradually evolves in to a peaty explosion of smoke and ash. The iodine and earth flavors of the nose are consistent right the way through and appear to be married with a hint of sweetness, similar to that of the liqueur Benedictine. Describing the evolution of this whisky on the palate is exceedingly difficult as there are so many elements at work simultaneously, but smoke and salt are dominant throughout. The mouth feel is medium to full and fresh.
To finish there is a spicy ash and an enjoyable meaty sulfuric bitterness concluding with a fresh fruit and salty taste.
The Laphroaig 10 year old is one of those whiskies that no sane non-whisky aficionado could possibly want to go out and buy after reading a review of it. The tastes described are frequently associated with fire and brimstone, hospitals, pirate ships and feasts in the halls of Valhalla. I would certainly not recommend this whisky for beginners to the Islay taste – rather, I would go for the Ardbeg 10 or Caol Ila 12. I consider it an excellent whisky that is great value for money. The more expensive Laphroaig offerings expand on the theme set up by the 10 year old and are also worth checking out.
Laphroaig 10 Year Old Information
- Type: Single malt Scotch whisky
- Region: Islay
- ABV: 40%
- Price guide: 35 pounds / 60 USD