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This was another one that I sampled at the bar for the first time and wound up being those rare one out of three chances that justified buying a bottle to bring home. This now brings the Islays in my collection to four.
As most of my readers of my numerous posts already know, I am absolutely terrible at doing tasting notes because I am not a magician who can pull flavors out of thin air that do not exist. What I am very good at is comparing samples side by side, which probably is an extension of my days as a music writer. This one is subdued peat with a taste of sweet oak. Initially, I figured that my Caol Ila 12 would be a good basis for comparison. Well not really! The Caol Ila is pale straw in color and is a peat monster. This Laphroaig 18 is golden with the peat having been slowly tamed into submission. Still wanting to compare to my darkest Islay, I poured a Glencairn with my Bowmore 15. Again, no comparison, since the Bowmore is much richer and darker. However, the Bowmore comparison did allow the Laphroaig to show just a bit more of it's peat characteristics. In a nutshell, Laphroaig 18 is an all around balanced winner and in a class by itself that I will keep buying, especially at the US price of $63. This one is a no brainer! Damn fine whiskey! Bye bye blends!