I actually had this Laphroaig pencilled in for last week’s series of peated whiskies but it fits well in this week as well. I forgot to say in the preamble to Monday’s Longmorn 17, 1996 review that this would be a week of reviews of sherried whiskies. And this was the first release—I am pretty sure—of Laphroaig’s NAS Triple Wood. As you may recall/know, the Triple Wood was/is basically the Quarter Cask finished for a further period in oloroso sherry casks—making this a triple maturation (as the Quarter Cask itself starts out in regular ex-bourbon casks before entering the smaller quarter casks). It was released as a duty-free exclusive (back then duty-free exclusives were in fact only available in airports). I purchased a couple of bottles on the way back from a trip to London in December 2009. I opened one not too long after and quite liked it. A little later it became part of Laphroaig’s core lineup but I lost track of it. I’m not sure what the reputation of those later releases is, especially in recent years. To be frank, I’ve not kept track of the Quarter Cask either, or for that matter even the regular 10 yo. The 10 CS is the only official Laphroaig I follow closely (well, I guess I buy the Cairdeas each year too). Now that I’ve finally gotten around to opening my second bottle of the original release I’m interested to see what I make of it 12 years later. Let’s see.
Laphroaig Triple Wood, 2009 Release (48%; from my own bottle)
Nose: Very Laphroaig indeed with a big phenolic arrival; not much smoke though—instead a lot of ink and pencil lead and iodine. Saltier and a little smokier with each sniff and then some sweetness begins to emerge: first vanilla and then pipe tobacco, toffee and a hint of dried orange peel. No further development with time/air. Water pushes the smoke and phenols back a bit and emphasizes the pipe tobacco.
Palate: More smoke here—ashy and earthy. A very nice drinking strength. As I swallow the pencil lead emerges to join the smoke and the phenols expand as well. More char on the second sip. With more time the pipe tobacco from the finish pops out earlier. Okay, let’s add water. It merges the sweet and the smoky nicely and mellows it on the whole.
Finish: Long. The pipe tobacco emerges again here as the char expands. The char keeps going with water.
Comments: Well, this was just as I remember it which is to say very good indeed. I am almost motivated to get a bottle of a contemporary release before this gets emptied and see how it compares. Or maybe I should open my bottle of the PX first…
Rating: 87 points.