I have previously reviewed the first seven batches of the Laphroaig 10 CS (after the demise of the old “red stripe” version). Here now, jumping over Batch 008—which I have not seen locally and which none of you ungrateful bastards have seen fit to offer to send me samples of—is my review of Batch 009. I found it hiding behind a bunch of Batch 010 bottles at a local store last week and picked it up (to be safe I bought a bottle of Batch 010 as well). This was released in February 2017—which leads me to wonder what batch we’re up to now: do these come out one per year? Anyway, the early batch releases of the Laphroaig 10 CS ranged from very good to excellent (especially Batch 003) but then the series hit a snag with the weaker (though still not bad) Batch 005. Batches 006 and 007 seemed to suggest an upward trajectory. Here’s hoping this means that I will find Batch 009 to be even better than I would have found Batch 008 to be if you ungrateful bastards etc. And, oh yes, shout out to Beam Suntory for continuing to keep the Laphroaig 10 CS priced very reasonably indeed. In the decade and a half that I have been buying it the price has barely budged. Anyway, on to the whisky!
Laphroaig 10 CS, Batch 009 (58.1%; from my own bottle)
Nose: A big phenolic wave off the top; underneath there’s charred oak, lime and cracked pepper. After a minute or two some ham brine joins the party and the lime expands. With a few drops of water there’s a green, leafy, slightly vegetal note and the fruit gets a little muskier; saltier too now.
Palate: Everything from the nose plus a lot of salt. As I swallow it starts to get tarry. Very drinkable at full strength with rich texture. With time the lime comes to the fore here as well, but that big phenolic wallop never really softens. Let’s see what water does. It makes it more peppery but brings out some sweetness as well (caramel, a touch of vanilla).
Finish: Long. The tarry notes expand but don’t devolve into simple bitterness. As on the palate with water.
Comments: This is better than most of the recent Cairdeas releases and it’s up there with the more expensive and harder to find Lagavulin 12 CS. A bit more of the musky fruit and it would be in the next tier. If you see one hanging around on a shelf near you, buy it.
Rating: 89 points.