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Laphroaig 18 Year Old

Older, Bolder and Flirtatious

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@spiritsafeReview by @spiritsafe

29th May 2011


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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In the sunlight, the 18 is reminiscent of liquid topaz – a brilliant yellow-gold; on the glass, it is the colour of honeycomb and captured sunlight.


Medium body (though I found this to be the slightest bit lighter than the 15) with the legs to prove it!


There is a sweet aroma – like honeysuckle – the start. A lot of the sea in this one as well; I have a rush of seaweed, brine and fish oil, followed by wet clothes after a drenching rain. The smoke is there – a campfire smouldering from the night before.


This is a robust dram. The sea doesn’t end with the nose in this one, and a dry iodine and saltiness are countered by a pleasing sweetness that suggests toasted grains and simple syrup. The peat and smoke is there throughout, but reveals itself most prominently at the middle and on the finish.


The additional 5% alcohol in the 18 Year Old (as compared to its predecessor, the 15 Year Old) is noticeable, although this is not necessarily a bad thing. The peat is prevalent, and is most akin to campfire ash or charcoal soot – perhaps not too appealing when reading about it, but delicious when imbibing. Additionally, and moreso than the 15 Year Old, the 18 lasts in the mouth – it has been a good 5 minutes, and the flavours continue to play on my palette, with the peat giving way to a pleasant sweetness reminiscent of apples and toffee.


Truth be told, I am a dirty old man who likes my 15 Year Old and would have been very happy if Laphroaig had left well enough alone. That being said, having completed a side-by-side tasting, I must begrudgingly admit that the 18 Year old has its merits and is a thoroughly enjoyable dram. Is it a worthy addition to Laphroaig? Yes, definitely; Is it a worthwhile replacement for the 15? I cannot agree...the 15 remains a favourite, and will likely remain so until my last pour – but it is nice to know that there is a place on my shelf for her older, bolder, and more flirtatious sister.

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UserRemoved commented

@Spiritsafe, Nice review! I've yet to try the Laphroaig 18. I will add it to my shopping list.

Also, how is it compared to the 10YR Cask Strength?

11 years ago 0

spiritsafe commented

Thanks whiskyshiba. Please share your own thoughts when you do.

As for the 10 Year Old Cask Strength...well, I am going from memory, but as I recall it is more energetic, and has more zest and and considerably more heat. The 'medicinal' qualities are more pronounced, as is the peat (which I recall being quite impressive). But really, what I remember most was the power...compared with the 10, the 18 is moderation itself. I think that is one of the benefits of the 18; you can enjoy much of the vibrancy of the 10 Cask Strength with the tempered exuberance and smoothness that comes with a bit of age.

11 years ago 0

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