I’ve reviewed the five batch releases of the iconic Laphroaig 10 CS previous to this one (though not in sequential order): see here for Batch 001, here for Batch 002, here for Batch 003, here for Batch 004, and here for Batch 005. I’m not the only one who was not very excited by Batch 005, though I did like it. I’ve heard that Batch 006 was a return to form and that Batch 007 and 008 have gone further in that direction. I hope it’s true.
What I hope is not true is the report that the Laphroaig 10 CS is being discontinued altogether after Batch 008. Words to this effect were typed yesterday by Louis Dachis, the proprietor of Ace Spirits here in Minnesota. He didn’t have the clearest information and said he’s going to check, but Louis is generally a trustworthy sort. That said, there have been rumours of the 10 CS’s demise before that proved unfounded. However, we are in a time when the 18 yo has been discontinued and when Laphroaig—who once had a streamlined portfolio—are pumping out the NAS product, and it would not surprise me if the 10 CS had to make way to feed those vats. It will deeply sadden most whisky geeks though—this is one of the most beloved of all single malts, and in one label style or another, has been around for a very long time. It has also always been very fairly priced. If it is indeed being discontinued it will be hard not to see this as the end of an era. Again, I hope it’s not true.
Laphroaig 10 CS, Batch 006 (58%; from a bottle split)
Nose: Mildly phenolic to start, with quite a bit of pepper (black pepper and bell pepper) and some rubbery notes. A little sweeter as it sits and there’s some ham too. The smoke is of a charred, woody nature at first but as it sits the phenolic quality begins to expand and is joined by some ink and salt. Gets ashier with time and there’s some lime as well. More acidic with water.
Palate: Sweet smoke and barbecued pork with some lime and some of the cracked pepper from the nose. Much smokier here from the get-go (not getting the vegetal or rubbery notes, happily). Nice mouthfeel and quite drinkable at full strength. Gets sweeter as it sits but there’s no sign of vanilla. As on the nose, water pulls out more of the lime, and the smoke is ashier now.
Finish: Long. The smoke just keeps going (and goes from phenolic to ashy) and the pepper builds as well. Water emphasizes the pepper and there’s more citrus here as well. Just a bit of vanilla now towards the end.
Comments: Well, I wasn’t a huge fan of the nose at first but really liked it on the palate, where it seemed like a return to big, phenolic Laphroaig form; and as it sat the nose came along nicely too. I hope later batches have indeed continued along these lines after the milder and sweeter Batch 005. I should say that I think the bottle my sample came from had been open for a while—it’s possible this is a whisky that benefits from being open for a while.
Rating: 87 points.