My third review of a heavily peated whisky this week is also my third simul-review this week with Michael K. of Diving for Pearls (we previously had at the new Lagavulin 11, Offerman Ed. and a Ledaig 6, 2004). Today we’re reviewing another Islay released this year. Batch 011 of Laphroaig’s 10 CS series was released in March 2019. This series had hit a bit of a bumpy patch around batch 005 (though I did like batch 006 more), but recent batches have been excellent (see my reviews of batches 009 and 010). Will this batch continue that hot streak? Will Michael and I finally land on the same score for one of these simul-reviews? Let’s find out.
[As always, we have not discussed our notes or scores prior to the posting of our reviews. I will link to his review when I wake up in the morning.]
Laphroaig 10 CS, Batch 011 (58.6%; from my own bottle)
Nose: The full Laphroaig package of smoke and phenols with cereals and a bit of lemon coming through them; some vanilla sweetness in there too. Gets more inky and the smoke gets more tarry as it sits and some cracked pepper emerges as well along with some graphite. With time and then a few drops of water it mellows a fair bit; the softer notes expand (more citrus, more cream). The inky smoke is still there though. As it sits again there’s a strong note of preserved lemon and some muskier fruit that I can’t quite pick.
Palate: Leads with char and then the inky smoke comes crashing in behind along with some of that lemon. Quite approachable at full strength. With time the bitter note seems to move from tar towards oak and the vanilla expands as well. Water brings better balance to the palate as well, amplifying the citrus (lime peel) and salt and pushing the bitter/tarry notes back; the smoke is ashier now.
Finish: Long. The smoke takes over completely; salt emerges as the smoke begins to fade. Longer with water but mostly as on the palate.
Comments: This is a pretty brutal edition of Laphroaig 10 CS. Neat, it’s almost a bit too much of a blunt instrument for my liking. Water makes it more interesting; the nose gets more complex and the palate more approachable. Will have to experiment with water as this bottle goes on
Rating: 87 points. (Pulled up by water.)