On the heels of my review of Batch 003 of the Laphroaig 10 CS, here’s Batch 004, bottled in January 2012. I believe this version at 58.6% may only have been released in the US, with a 58.3% version released in Europe. Whether the abv dropped between bottling runs or if the US is receiving a separate set of batches, I don’t know (though it appears that way–Batch 002 here has a different bottling month listed on the label than the EU Batch 002). Also, I think I’d read somewhere that the latest batch (005) was only going to be released in the US but Whiskybase shows a 700 ml Batch 005 that’s been rated by a bunch of Europeans. Can anyone clear all these Laphroaig mysteries up so we can all get some sleep?
Laphroaig 10 CS, Batch 004 (58.6%; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: Sharp and somewhat drier smoke than usual at first. Then it starts to get more cereally before taking a turn for the tarry; some burnt rope too. The phenols come out with a little more air and bring some salt with them. Much closer to Batch 003 now. With more time the cereal note is much stronger with sweet, inky smoke blowing around it. With a few drops of water there’s some fish oil and it get sweeter on the whole
Palate: Sweet and warming. Smoke, of course, but cereal too. Not picking up any fish oil or pork fat here. Starts to get quite salty. Bittersweetness here too a la Batch 003–almost inky. Quite drinkable without water despite the high strength. Water makes it sweeter but the sweetness is in nice balance with the smoke and tar and it gets quite phenolic as it sits. At the very end it’s almost like a cask strength Quarter Cask.
Finish: Long. Ink and smoke and ash and salt crystals. Water sweetens the finish as well.
Comments: Okay, despite what I said in the review of the Batch 003 this does seem appreciably different from it. This is good, but I think I prefer Batch 003 by a clear margin–the stronger charred mackerel/pork fat thing there tips the balance. Unlike Batch 003 I prefer this one with water. Okay, I have a bottle of the US Batch 002 in reserve; now I need to find some samples of Batch 001 and the new Batch 005. Any Laphroaig fans out there have some and want to swap?
Thanks to bpbleus for the sample!
Rating: 87 points.