I reviewed Batch 009 of the Laphroaig 10 CS in May and really, really liked it (89 pts). I have not had the opportunity to try Batch 008 (which does not seem to be lurking on any local shelves I’ve looked at) but all the signs from Batch 006 onward suggest that the dip in quality at Batch 005 was just a blip. As to whether this is because the distillery is now setting aside particular casks for this release or whether the blip was entirely random, I have no way of knowing. All I can say is that Batch 009 was as good a Laphroaig 10 CS as I’ve had since Batch 001. And I am very pleased to say that Batch 010 keeps that positive momentum going—though I’m only now publishing these notes, I’ve been drinking this bottle down steadily for the last month. I can only hope that the 10 CS will continue to be released, will continue at this level, and will continue to be available in the US (or at least in Minnesota) at very reasonable prices. Now let’s get to the notes.
Laphroaig 10 CS, Batch 010 (58%; from my own bottle)
Nose: A big whack of phenolic peat and smoke off the top. Interspersed with it is a lot of lemon and salt and kelp. As it sits there’s ham brine and olives mixed in there as well. The medicinal notes (Dettol) keep expanding. Softer with water with a touch of vanilla cream emerging.
Palate: Even more phenolic on the first sip and there’s more tar in the smoke. Very drinkable at full strength and good mouth-coating texture. More tar and char as it goes. Okay, time to add some water. Less tarry, more salty with water.
Finish: Long. Smoke, smoke, smoke; iodine, iodine, iodine. Some cracked pepper too. As on the palate with water.
Comments: Hard to pick between this and the 009—this one is a bit more brutal on the palate and may appeal more to those who like their peat to smack them about the mouth. On the evidence of these recent batches it seems safe to say that Laphroaig 10 CS is all the way back.
Rating: 88 points.