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Laphroaig 18 Year Old

Muscular and genteel

0 1296

@jdcookReview by @jdcook

12th Mar 2010

0

  • Nose
    24
  • Taste
    24
  • Finish
    24
  • Balance
    24
  • Overall
    96

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

My wife and I recently went gallivanting up and down the east coast of Australia visiting Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. The main reason for Melbourne was shopping, and the main reason we decided to shop there was because of Nick's Wine Store in Armadale (a fairly wealthy inner city suburb of Melbourne). Whilst there I tasted a few drams (it's the only store I know that allows tasting of single malts, not just upon request, but they will actually offer them to you!), and ordered three bottles. They finally arrived today, and this evening I cracked open the first of them, the Laphroaig 18 year old!

The colour is quite pale for a whisky of its age, so it almost certainly has had no caramel added for colouring, and it states it has not been chill-filtered. Combine that with being bottled at 48%, I think even Ralfy would be relatively happy. The liquid looks very pale but is very viscous with long legs forming whenever you give the whisky a swirl.

The nose is typical Islay strong, but very smooth, and, almost paradoxically, very lively - especially for an Islay. Lot's of dry smoke and peat mix with a briny sea salt to form a lovely platform for gentle toffee, honey, freshly cut hay and a touch of chocolate. This is a complex and mature, but seriously well balanced nose. I sat here taking it in for nearly 16 minutes before doing anything else.

The taste immediately starts with a smoky, fruity tang that quickly expands with oak and nuts, before being swept up in a wave of gentle peat, vanilla, honey and brine. Further sips reveal roasted cereals and a hint of old leather. Every taste is slightly different, with new subtle hints coming throughand fantastic!

The finish is long and smoky. It's powerful enough to leave your tongue feeling numb. It's full of honey and oak underlined by soft, dry smoky peat. Goes on forever - if you take a sip more often than once every 10-15 minutes then you aren't letting this dram show you its full repertoire.

This dram somehow manages to be both genteel and muscular. This is a huge step up from the 10 year old which I personally find a little bland. Even the quarter-cask, which I think is an excellent dram, shows it's youthful simplicity compared to this.

When I bought this, the gentleman behind the counter said that in his opinion this was probably the best single malt to come out in the past 18 months. He's not wrong! And at AU$150 (which means it's probably around £60 or so in the UK), for an upper range malt, this is excellent value. I'm not ready to give it a 10, but it is a high 9.5, up there with the Ardbeg Uigedail for me.

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12 comments

@LeFrog
LeFrog commented

Near to perfection, I would agree. Nicely reviewed.

9 years ago 0

@jdcook
jdcook commented

I'm pretty blown away by this myself...

9 years ago 0

@Dougful
Dougful commented

I completely agree with this review. I recently uncorked mine and am waiting to taste it a few more times before I review it. My impression, so far, is this is a truly great whisky; even more so when you consider its modest price.

9 years ago 0

@jdcook
jdcook commented

Just had another glass of this last night. Wow, it was good. Excellent value for money.

8 years ago 0

@Andrew
Andrew commented

I was going to post a review .. there is no need now.. you did a better job than I could have.

8 years ago 0

@MrFancyPants
MrFancyPants commented

Great review and it's making my dram of the 18 that much more enjoyable. Thanks!

8 years ago 0

@Carl
Carl commented

Well, thank you for the excellent review! I bought a bottle a couple of months ago, because I could get my hands on it, as this 18 year old is pretty rare here in this part of Canada. At $180, it is the most expensive bottle I have at the moment. I normally try to keep my single malts at $60.00 maximum, in the odd case I will make an exception, such as the marvellous Laphroaig Quarter Cask. One of my best buddies, with whom I did a tasting, said it is definitely the most unique one he has had. Now to the 18 year old. I am just waiting for the right time to open that one. I don't believe in leaving everything for a "special occasion", if I like it well enough I know that I will somehow come up with the resources to get another bottle. That said, I am waiting for the time to share it with someone. I just don't want to appreciate the first tasting on my own, and prefer to share it. Cheers, Carl

8 years ago 0

@jdcook
jdcook commented

@Carl - whisk(e)y is indeed a sociable drink, best shared with others! You won't regret buying this bottle - I was blown away by it!

8 years ago 0

@drinix
drinix commented

Great review! I totally agree with you, this is a superb malt. Absolutely love the 48% ABV.

7 years ago 0

@jdcook
jdcook commented

@drinix - it is nice to see people in the industry not just bottling at 40or 43% anymore in an effort to maximise volume and therefore profit. Bottling at higher percentages gives us the opportunity to decide how we want to drink it! From where I'm sitting it feels like the distilleries are showing us a little respect rather than treating us like the lowest common denominator.

7 years ago 0

@abunadhMatada
abunadhMatada commented

Man, after this review I think i need to run out and get a bottle. Especially that my local liquor shop has it for $79. I've been meaning to try the 1/4 cask first... but what the heck!!

6 years ago 0

@jdcook
jdcook commented

@abunadhMatada - $79 is a pretty good price for it (even comparing the ridiculous import taxes on whisky we have here in Australia compared to your neck of the woods). Definitely worth getting a bottle!

6 years ago 0

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