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Laphroaig 15 Year Old

Average score from 7 reviews and 47 ratings 88

Laphroaig 15 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Laphroaig
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 43.0%
  • Age: 15 year old

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Laphroaig 15 Year Old

Laphroaig is my forever fighting with Ardbeg for a top spot in my heart. But Ardbeg has taken upon itself to disappoint me more often than not which means I instinctively take refuge in the arms of the other Islay giant.

After having checked my records I realized that Laphroaig is by far my highest reviewed distillery and I also own the most number of it's bottles too. A little more than Ardbeg. Just goes to show how much I enjoy this 'most richly flavoured of all Scotch whiskies'.

The 15 has had a bit of a bad rep. Before I tasted one (a few years ago) there were some who hated it, some who loved and some who were totally indifferent. I ended up being in the latter group. It didn't exactly set my world on fire and I was happy to let it sit on my shelf for eternity.

Someone then gifted me a more recent bottling (2013) and I just had to see whether they'd made any inroads into improving it. This is after the whole hue and cry of it being discontinued and people throwing themselves off cliffs in grief.

Well, let me tell you something. I think something might have happened here. Five years after being discontinued in 2008 a fresh new spirit was introduced, complete with new label, which I suspect has some much older vintages in it than Laphroaig is letting on.

The result is a restrained sort of Laphroaig without the usual characteristics but which is certainly a step up from it's older defunct sibling. My sample is from an almost new bottle and served at a weak-ish 43%

Nose: Quite fruity. Some apples. Some pears. All shrouded in delicate smoke. Quite green. Coriander. Some herbs. Garam masala. Mild lemon. Lime. Citrus. Hint of iodine. Coastal sea salt. Fishnets. Brine. I like the nose.

Palate: Hint of sweetness. Mild smoke. Nutmeg. Some citrus. More pineapple than lemon. A touch of char. Dry leaves. The nose does better.

Finish: Took a while to stick. Some smoke. Hint of spice.

Overall I think this is a decent whisky. I am not crazy about it but maybe because I expect huge flavors from Islay whiskies especially this distillery and this one decides it's a good idea to hold back a touch.

I'm sure this decision garners it more fans. Good on them!

Well, a $ 120 bottle rating 85 pts still does not show a lot of promise, compared to, say, a $ 70 bottle of Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength. @MaltActivist, thanks very much for reviewing this.

In my opinion even if the prices were reversed the CS is still a better deal.


This expression was replaced with the 18yo in 2009. It seems to have been the Prince of Wales' favourite dram for many years, so I was curious what this might taste like.

The nose is classic Laphroaig with peat smoke, brine, rubber and sweet undertones such as mint and vanilla. All in all, this is much more restrained than the 10yo.

The palate is quite smoky and ashy but sweet and smooth all the same, the harsh edges of the 10yo having been considerably softened. I also detected apples and pears.

The finish is satisfyingly long, dry and warming.

I was pleasantly surprised by this Laphroaig. The additional five years of maturation have given it extra complexity and a smoothness that is not present in the 10yo. This is an excellent single malt - no wonder the Prince was a fan!



The colour is that of gold spun from straw; clarified butter with a richness and depth that belies its character and sophistication.


Medium body forming hundreds of thin, gossamer legs that hesitate before racing down the glass to join the spirit below.


A complex but overall mild cocktail of aromas fill the nostrils and intoxicate the head – suggestions of wet Straw, lemon and pepper, saltwater and seaweed, fresh-cut grass, hessian, and licorice at the end.


So smooth. A refreshing sweetness from the start, but not cloying – restrained and dignified; this followed almost immediately by a wave of iodine and the sea mingled with shockingly subdued peat, with oak and straw in the background. Now the peat is coming to the fore a bit stronger, but still, it is not abrupt or out of place – it belongs to this dram. Again, so amazingly smooth and immensely drinkable; I am smiling.


On the finish, it is overall dry, with some lingering subtle sweetness that might be mistaken for ‘medicinal’ by some, and a pleasant, albeit heady, au revoir of peat with a hint of camphor or perhaps eucalyptus.


I have conducted this note while completing a side-by-side tasting of the Laphroaig 15 Year Old and the Laphroaig 18 Year Old. I am horribly biased and lack all objectivity in this matter as I am an avowed lover of the 15. Nevertheless, I have committed myself to giving both spirits a fair tasting, and will struggle through these drams with due rigor and whatever virtuosity I can muster.

That being said, having completed the tasting of the 15 Year Old, I am once more amazed by this stellar expression of Islay malt. It is, in my opinion, a masterclass in a glass – demonstrating the qualities of craftsmanship, innovation, tradition, sophistication, abandon and restraint that are the hallmarks of distillers and of the distillers’ art, and in particular, those of Islay. On this outcropping of peat bog in the middle of the Atlantic, outlaw whisky-men distilled spirits using whatever resources were at hand…and created the magical elixirs we enjoy today. I count Laphroaig 15 among the many culminations of this arc, and am thankful each and every time I have the good fortune to enjoy a dram.


Brilliant review @spiritsafe welcome to the site!

Thanks Jean-Luc. It's my first, but I picked a familiar friend to write about!


Peat and oak enter the nose immediately, followed by barley and sea salt.

Entering the mouth, the oak is dominant, then the salt. After this, the milky barley comes into play for awhile. The finish is classic seaweed, with a hint of citrus with water and upon breathing.

A good bottling from Laphroaig; an elegantly tame Islay that doesn't forget it's roots.


The color is almost the same as that of the 10 Year Old and the ABV is slightly higher. But that’s where the comparison ends.

This one smells medicinal as well, but less sweet and even less peated than the classic 10 Year Old. I’m left wanting a bit. I hardly dare say it, but I’m reminded of something similar to cold tea. Hmm?

On the palate it is very soft, almost silk, but rahter oaky, drying your mouth. I get a touch op peppermint, before the peat comes back in full force with touches of citrusfruits in its wake. I also get some chocolate. This one is much softer than his younger brother, much to my surprise. Also a lot more complex. Very good.

The finish is long and dry.

Quite the body, but to be fair: the nose let me down a bit. This expression is rather hard to find these days as it was replaced (as of March 2009) with the 18 Year Old.

Nice review, I actually like the 15y better than the 18y year old (which is a good whisky too). But the 15y old has more of the laphroaig-typical "punch in the face" with all it's peat and smoke, while the 18y old is more delicate. For a Laphroaig ;-)

The 15y old Laphroaig, in my opinion, unites the best from the 10y old and the 18y old into one whisky.

I've had the 18 year old, and loved it! When I bought it, they had both on the shelf, and the gentleman behind the counter said, sure, the 15 year old is nice, but for a small bump in price, you could try the 18 year old, and he thought it was one of the best drams brought out in the past 18 months.

So naturally I bought the 18 year old, and it was fantastic!


The colour of apple juice marks the first impression of this beauty, to the poured dram I added a touch (4-5 drops) of water. The nose is less medicinal than the 10, but the iodine and salty smoke still remind me of a driftwood fire on an autumn beach.

When the whisky hits the palate the seaweed, smoke, and iodine mix with a slighty nutty sweet flavour that turns spicy when your tongue is fully coated. A chewy texture fills your mouth.

Upon the swallow, the peat can nearly overwhelm, and it dries out for an amazing finish, although shorter than the 10. I actually prefer the finish of the 10, but this 15 is altogether more enjoyable.

Nice review! ...and another added to the wish-list

The 15 has eluded me thus far, but I'm really keen to try.

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