Let’s start the year in whisky reviews with a young Laphroaig. This is a 7 year old put together as a vatting of three bourbon hogsheads by Single Malts of Scotland—once a Whisky Exchange label, now put out by their sister company, Elixir Distillers. There was a time when whiskies from Single Malts of Scotland were not available in the US. That time is past. This Laphroaig and a few others that I’ll be reviewing this week that also bear the “Reserve Casks” appellation were released in the US market in 2022. And they’re not the first Single Malts of Scotland bottles to make it here. The Caol Ila 10, 2009 I reviewed in December was also a US release and, for all I know, they’ve been here even longer. I think I’ve mentioned before that I no longer follow whisky marketing news—if one of my readers knows more about this I hope you’ll write in below. As for these “Reserve Casks” releases, I expect “Reserve Casks” is just a nice way of saying “Not Single Cask or at Cask Strength”—these are all bottled at 48%. I say this because single casks at cask strength might well be what people expect of indie releases, especially when a 7 yo whisky costs $90 and above as this Laphroaig did on release. Well, let’s see what it’s like.
Laphroaig 7, 2014 (48%; Single Malts of Scotland; bourbon hogsheads; from a bottle split)
Nose: Bright carbolic peat rises out of the glass as I pour and is joined by sweet and savoury notes (cereals, bacon fat) as I raise it to my nose. A bit of lemon as it sits. A few drops of water push the peat back a bit and bring out some vanilla.
Palate: As predicted by the nose with the smoke turning just a bit tarry as I swallow. Hits lighter than the 48% would indicate and the texture is a bit thin. The pepper from the finish pops out earlier as it sits and the tar subsides into char. Okay, let’s see what water does for it. Not much.
Finish: Long. The smoke builds and keeps going, turning more phenolic as it goes. Some black pepper in there with it; not particularly salty. No interesting development to report here either with water.
Comments: This is a pleasant-enough young Laphroaig but I have to say I can’t see any reason to pay $90 for this over the official 10 yo and especially the 10 CS, which is also cheaper than this. Not the most auspicious start to the year. Will things look up with the Clynelish on Wednesday? Let’s see.
Rating: 83 points.