Monday’s Caol Ila was a bit disappointing. Today’s Laphroaig is a year older, also from a bourbon cask and bottled by the Laing outfit that owns the Old Malt Cask label. I was not very enthused by the last Laphroaig 12 from OMC that I reviewed—one of their 20th anniversary releases. I hope this one, distilled a couple of years earlier, will be a lot better.
Laphroaig 12, 2004 (50.5%; OMC; refill hogshead; from a bottle split)
Nose: Bright carbolic peat off the top; quite a bit of Dettol and also a cereal sweetness. With the second sniff citrus begins to expand (lime) and then it begins to get increasingly coastal (brine, seashells). With more time there’s a hint of vanilla. A bit more of the vanilla with water but it melds well with the lime and the smoke and avoids becoming cloying. With time there’s some citronella as well.
Palate: Comes in with some ash mixed in with the brighter smoke which darkens as I swallow. Nice texture and an excellent drinking strength. The tar pops out earlier with each sip along with some cracked pepper but the smoke is still quite bright. With time a bit of muskier fruit emerges alongside the lime—somewhere between charred pineapple and charred peach. Okay, let’s add some water. Water pushes the ash back a bit and pulls out more of the citrus (all of it charred).
Finish: Long. The smoke expands, turning tarrier as it goes. Some salt at the end. The ash shows up here with water, bringing pepper with it, both displacing the tar and the salt. The lime builds here too in the end.
Comments: Ah, this is the stuff. Lovely young bourbon cask Laphroaig. Another profile that I’d happily drink forever.
Rating: 88 points.