The Lore is a new entry in Laphroaig’s lineup—which is so much larger suddenly than it used to be when I first acquired whisky derangement syndrome. It is apparently the replacement for the discontinued 18 yo and will see batch releases every year. It will not surprise you to learn that it is a NAS whisky. The talk around it is that there’s a mix of ages and cask types in the blend but it’s probably the case that most of it is very young. It’s also said to be an attempt at putting together an expression of Laphroaig that pulls together all parts of their profile—young, old, bourbon cask, sherried, wine cask etc. But if there’s a lot of sherry cask spirit in here I will be almost as surprised as I would be if there turned out to be very much in here over 10 years of age. If pressure on teenaged stock is what made the 18 yo go away and the 200th anniversary 15 yo just a one-off, then there’s probably only just enough older whisky in here for them to be able to wink in its direction without too much embarrassment. Well, as I purchased a bottle anyway and am reviewing it I guess I shouldn’t get on too high a horse about this—what can I say? I’m a fan of Laphroaig and people I trust said it’s a good one. Well, let’s see.
Laphroaig Lore (48%; from my own bottle)
Nose: A lot of smoke but also a fair bit of lime and a sweet meatiness (the inner bits of a charred hunk of pork). Not terribly phenolic though. The smoke gets ashy pretty quickly and some cream joins the sweeter notes; so too, however, does some cracked pepper. With time the lime trumps the sweetness. With a lot more time it gets more medicinal. Let’s see what water does. Well, it makes it more acidic still and pulls out some vanilla.
Palate: Pretty much as promised by the nose except the smoke is a bit more intense (still ashy); the sweetness is here too along with the lime and they’re in pretty good balance. The mouthfeel is just a bit thin. As on the nose, cracked black pepper shows up as well with time. As on the nose it gets a bit more phenolic with time and the smoke gets tarrier. More acidic here too with water but no vanilla, thankfully.
Finish: Long. The smoke yields to soot. With time the cracked pepper hangs around as well. The smoke is ashier with water.
Comments: Well, this is very Laphroaig. In a way it presents a cross between some of the more aggressive 10 yo CS batches and the softer charms of the 18 yo. So I suppose if you liked the 18 yo and wished it was a bit more aggressive you will like this a lot (I’d hold the water). Personally, I preferred having those two more distinct points on the continuum and am sorry to see the 18 yo replaced by this. And oh, I couldn’t really remark any sherry character worth noting.
Rating: 86 points.