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Laphroaig 10 Year Old

Nozinan Mini and Sample Series - 43

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@NozinanReview by @Nozinan

28th Mar 2018


Laphroaig 10 Year Old
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

It’s getting close to Passover, which means that soon I will have no access to my cabinet for 8 days, and there will be precious few chances to dram before the cabinet is sealed. It’s been a month since my last review. Time to get working.

Before this week I don’t think I had ever tasted Laphroaig 10, and the only low proof expression from this distillery I’d had was a generous portion of the 15 YO I tasted outside Roy Thompson Hall at SOT (Thanks Marcio – wait, thanks to the person who befriended Marcio). I’m used to high powered expressions like Cairdeas, 10 YO CS and QC.

Thanks to @OdysseusUnbound, I can now say I’ve tried the standard 10 at 43%. I sipped a few CCs of it a few nights ago and found it interesting, but I was trying to enjoy it, not dissect it.

This bottle was opened in December 2016. I received a sample in November 2017. This expression is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting. For fun, I poured a little of the CS (batch 5 – 57.2%) to see how it stands up.

I am a little stuffed up tonight so this may affect my notes. Read at your own risk.

Nose: 22/25

Neat, it starts out quiet. I get some citrus rind and ash, and a little iodine. I could use a little more power but what’s there is very nice. A little less smoky with a little water. (21.5)

In contrast, the CS smells a little drier and I get a little less citrus. With water the nose is much stronger than its 43% cousin.


Immediately my mouth feels like it licked a stale ash tray. For some reason many of us would say that’s a good thing! It’s dry, peppery, with a hint of citrus in the background. I get a tiny hint of eucalyptus, like in a cough drop. Creamier on the entry with water, and spicier (pepper mostly) on the development. A little more minty. (21/25)

The CS is like a cannon next to a musket. Enough said.

Finish: 21.5/25

Quite long. Mostly pepper and ash. No real change with water.


The nose is slightly underpowered and the palate is a little less complex than the nose. Water washes out the taste a little.(21/25)

Score: Neat - 86.5 /100 With Water: 85/100

I suppose that some would say it’s not fair to compare it to the cask strength. It probably isn’t, but the above notes are an assessment of it alone, following which I placed it H2H with its big brother. The CS simply has more power and more body. I would probably accept a dram if offered, but in my own cabinet I don’t think a bottle would see too much use.

I finished by putting about half of the CS in with what was left of this one (1:2). It certainly bumps up the body (score around 87-88), but I still prefer the CS on its own.

Not a bad dram. Looks like I’ll be enjoying the next couple of hours…

Related Laphroaig reviews


cricklewood commented

Nice review, you scored this pretty well considering your preference for the cask strength.

I believe it's a testament to intensity of the Laphroaig character that it still holds up quite well at low strength.

6 years ago 0

BlueNote commented

I would say that is a very fair score and your usual thoughtful review. Incidentally, lately I have been mixing 10 year old and QC half and half. They go very well with each other. The QC adds some complexity and intensity to the 10 and the 10 knocks of some of the overly sweet palate of the QC (a characteristic that later versions of the QC seems to have acquired).

6 years ago 2Who liked this?

casualtorture commented

I also get a little mint in there. Nice review as always.

6 years ago 0

OdysseusUnbound commented

Very well-articulated review. The Cask Strength version definitely makes it harder to sip at 43%. I think even a modest bump up to 46% would benefit this whisky tremendously. Your notes, while not identical to mine, are pretty spot on. I got this whisky after it had been opened about 8 months. No gas was used, and I’m unsure about the storage conditions. I’ve got an unopened bottle at home, so it will be interesting to see how it compares.

6 years ago 0

Nozinan commented

Just put the last few CCs of my sample from @OdysseusUnbound H2H with Laphroaig QC. This bottle had about 150 cc out of 1 L left (now it's decanted), was opened Dec. 31 2014 and has always been gassed after use.

I think I would give the QC an edge over the 10. It's a little richer, likely because it's les diluted. Very similar profile, but I get more milk chocolate in the QC (not more, some, as I got none in the 10). Mixed together, they remain a single malt, but slightly greater than the sum of their parts.

6 years ago 2Who liked this?

BlueNote commented

@Nozinan I agree, mixed together each adds something to the other.

6 years ago 0