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I’ve always had a soft spot for Laphroaig. The Laph 10 is one of the best bang for your buck Islay drams to be found out there. Here in Taiwan, it sells for only slightly over $30, which is an absolute steal for a dram of this caliber. It’s a tricky dram. Is it a powerful peat monster or is it a mellow, laid back easy sipper? Well… both, really.
Nose: The infamous Laphroaig ‘sweet peat.’ Beautiful honey, mild salt, lovely smoke, malt, pears, and just a hint of lemon cough drops. This isn’t a nose I spend much time picking apart and deconstructing. The individual notes aren’t particularly crisp, but they do mesh together beautifully. Mellow but powerful, with that wonderful rounded sweetness.
Palate: Brine, smoke, earthy peat, with a gorgeous light honey note. The brine is ever present and unmistakably coastal, but it’s neither sharp nor overbearing. The palate, like the nose, is best considered on the whole rather than the sum of its parts. Slightly more forceful than the nose suggested, but still a very pleasant dram.
Finish: Here we get drying oak, industrial smoke, all complimented by that signature sweetness. Spicy, but not peppery or sharp in the least. Smooooooth.
This is one of the smoothest and most rounded 10 year old whiskies to be found out there. And its Laphroaig’s endearing honey/sweet character that tapers what would otherwise be a very powerful peaty blast. When first opened, it comes off as a quite a beast of a dram. With time, that mellows out and becomes a sleek and easy sipper with a very pleasant honeyed character. Usually when a whisky changes character over time, you’re left with a preference. Maybe you preferred it freshly opened. Maybe the opposite is true and you prefer the whisky later in its ‘life.’ Well, this whisky has changed a lot in the months since I bought it. BUT… I’m left without a preference. I liked it fresh and I like it now, for different reasons. A whisky which evolves greatly yet remains thoroughly enjoyable at every stage is a rare and beautiful thing.