Laphroaig 17, 1999 (SMWS)

It has been almost two months since my last Laphroaig review and more than six months since my last review of a sherried Laphroaig. Let’s end both those sad streaks in one go. This is from a refill sherry butt bottled by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in 2016 or 2017. They called it “Divine, Dark Temptation”, which coincidentally is also my stripper name.

Laphroaig 17, 1999 (58.1%; SMWS; refill sherry butt 29.190; from a sample from a friend)

Nose: The usual Laphroaig medicinal complex plus cereals, smouldering leaves, salt and butterscotch. The sherry becomes more pronounced as it sits with the butterscotch joined by toffee and, yes, the inevitable raisins. Brighter and sharper with a bit of water and also more coastal—and after a bit there’s a bit of vanilla.

Palate: Leads with the smouldering leaves and the sweeter notes and phenols come crashing in behind. The smoke expands as I swallow. Nice texture and very approachable at full strength. Ashier on the second sip and more phenolic (inky). Saltier as it goes and some savoury gunpowder begins to emerge as well. With a lot of time (about 40 minutes) everything is in very nice balance. Okay, let’s see what water does. It brings out more of the salt—and the vanilla that emerged on the nose pops out here too—but the balance is still very good.

Finish: Long. The smoke expands, becoming tarrier as it goes. There’s some smoked ham in here too now and hints of brighter fruit. As the smoke begins to pop out earlier on the palate the finish begins to become sweeter (brandied raisins). Saltier here too with water and then smokier at the end.

Comments: A bit of a blunt instrument aft first in the way of some sherried Laphroaigs but still a blunt instrument I would enjoy being hit across the face with more often. Well, you know what I mean. With time and water it became more complex and interesting.

Rating: 88 points.

Thanks to Matt for the sample.


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