Laphroaig 21, 1990 (Silver Seal)

Last week I reviewed a Laphroaig 21, 1998 bottled recently by the Whisky Exchange that I thought was amazing. Here now is another Laphroaig 21. This was distilled in 1990 and bottled in 2012 by the well-regarded Italian outfit, Silver Seal. I nabbed a bottle from Whiskybase when it was released. Even with the much higher exchange rate of the time it ran me less than $150. Those were the days etc. After almost 8 years on my shelves I opened this last week to pair with the TWE cask. When I tried it alongside that one it felt a bit overshadowed and so I decide to taste it a few more times and take notes on it by itself so it wouldn’t suffer unfairly by juxtaposition. Here now are those notes as the bottle has come down to the 3/4 full mark.

Laphroaig 21, 1990 (57.7%; Silver Seal; sherry cask #10839; from my own bottle)

Nose: Big sherry here too but much more organic than the TWE cask. There’s toffee and citrus peel and cocoa but floating above it is something rotting in wet undergrowth (I know it doesn’t sound appetizing but it works). Definitely a dose of savoury sulphur here. Dry woodsmoke running through it all. Gets saltier as it sits (soy sauce) and earthier (dried shiitakes) and the decomposing rodent note subsides. A few drops of water push the sulphur back almost entirely and emphasize sweeter biscuity notes along with pipe tobacco. Continue reading


Dailuaine 12, 2000 (Silver Seal)

Another Dailuaine
, this time from the very well-regarded Italian bottler, Silver Seal. Silver Seal’s bottlings are available in Europe–their bottles are shapely and their labels beautiful (especially on their older bottles); their prices, unfortunately, are very high and have gone up dramatically in the last year. This, I believe, is due to increased taxes in Italy. Still, while expensive they’re not Samaroli expensive. Then again, this is a 12 yo from a third or fourth tier distillery and the list price is €125…. Thanks to Whiskybase’s excellent samples program, however, I was able to get two 20 ml bottles which is enough for a review.

Dailuaine 12, 2000 (56.2%; Silver Seal, sherry cask 9201; from a purchased sample)

Nose: Light sherry at first with lots of fruit (apricot, plum). The sherry notes get stronger quickly: a lot more brown sugar, some raisins and increasing salt. Some citrus too and some wood, by turns polished and dusty. Gets drier and more leathery with time and the apricot/plum notes get deeper and more jammy. Quite nice, I have to say, and seems more mature than its age. A few drops of water integrate all the fruit and wood quite nicely and bring out some spicy notes.  Continue reading