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I’m not too familiar with older Laphroaigs. Before buying this bottle, the oldest Laphroaig I’d had was a 16 year old OB, and that was ages ago. My familiarity with this brand comes mostly from my consistent love affair with the 10 year old and my on-again/off-again relationship with the QC. But 18 sounds like a good number. I like this one fair amount of water. Here we go.
Nose: Classic Laphroaig peat, grass, nougat, toffee, and chocolate-caramel. Slightly fruity too, with plums, apples, pears, lemon zest, and unsweetened orange juice.
Palate: Ballsy stuff. Heavy, dark peat, asphalt, camphor, medicine cabinets… you get the idea. Followed by a bitter lemon rind, loads of brine, oak, and licorice.
Finish: The peat is still huge. Strong licorice/anise note here, chocolate, honey, wet wood, brine, candied apple, unsweetened orange juice, and camphor, underpinned by some sherry notes.
I didn’t care for this much when I first popped it. I didn’t find it balanced. But it’s been open for over four months at the time of this review and it’s improved quite a bit. The peat and sherry flavours are better integrated now. It’s heavier than I would have expected for an 18 year old, but then again Laphroaig always goes big. Overall this is nice, but I don’t consider it much better than the 10, which is half the price. Also, I think better casks could have been used. Good, though.