Laphroaig 10 CS, Batch 003

Laphroaig is my favourite distillery, as I have noted before, and it is unlikely that I will stop buying and drinking various indie single casks even though I know they’re often operating in a very narrow band of variations. However, if the only cask strength Laphroaig available were the official 10 CS I’d still be happy. It’s a quintessential expression of all the extreme qualities associated with Laphroaig, yes, but it also conveys the mellower pleasures that usually lurk beneath. Until a few years ago there was just one official 10 yo cs, released year after year, usually at 55.7% abv. Then for arcane reasons having to do with the Scotch Whisky Association they began to be released in batches. This has, I imagine, been a boon for the distillery as idiots like me now want to try every single batch even though we’d probably not be able to tell them apart in blind tests.

Nonetheless, here is a review of Batch 003, released in the US in January 2011. A review of Batch 004 will follow tomorrow.

Laphroaig 10 CS, Batch 003 (55.3%; bottled January 20011; from a sample received in a swap)

Nose: Briny peat, salt and seashells. Quite medicinal and also quite sweet under the salt. Acidic smoke begins to swirl around the edges after a bit and there’s also a hammy note. The sweet, charred mackerel thing from the palate arrives on the nose after a while. With more time there’s a clear vanilla note and almost a hint of shortbread. The salt expands too. A few drops of water and the ham and the smoke are one with each other.

Palate: A slap across the face with a heavily charred mackerel: tarry, phenolic but also sweet (bittersweet really). Much more smoke here and it’s charcoal smoke with some pork fat sizzling somewhere too. Oh, the tar expands and explodes in the mouth with a larger second sip–but the sweetness and the salt are quietly expanding too. Gets even more phenolic with water and the slightest bit rubbery too. On the whole, though, this is better without water. Just give it time.

Finish: Long and smoky. Salt along the edges of the tongue. Gets quite tarry with successive sips and there’s some heavily charred meat too, but the final impression remains that of salt.

Comments: Buy one today.

Rating: 89 points.

3 thoughts on “Laphroaig 10 CS, Batch 003

  1. I love that sweetness underneath the char and phenol! There’s just nothing like it… And it’s something I can’t find in the regular 43% Laphroaig 10yo, for some reason. On the other hand, the Quarter Cask is too sweet for me – the CS gets it just right! This is one whisky I had no problem consuming several bottles of in a year, for the ridiculous reason that you mention, comparing batches. And with the chimney throat I get from the CS, I feel no need to check out the peatier-than-thou Octomores and Supermonsters out there.
    One other thing that makes Laphroaig stand out is that from what I understand they don’t have a master distiller/blender per se. They just fill up barrels, let them sit there, and then bottle them. You’ll never see the Laphroaig in a perfume bottle!


  2. I went through several bottles of the Batch 003 and my favorite thing about it was a ripe apple/baked apple note beneath all smoke, iodine and tar. I haven’t gotten that from other Laphroaig OB’s!


  3. I didn’t note apple specifically, but I’ll be buying the next bottle I see and look forward to looking for the apple on multiple occasions.


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