This is the first 25-year old Laphroaig, released in 2007. It was matured in both ex-bourbon barrels and second-fill ex-Oloroso sherry puncheons that were handpicked by master blender Robert Hicks.
The first thing I get on the nose is smoke - no surprise there - but rather subdued, followed by a good dose of vanilla and a hint of lemons. Then there are flavours of sherry and dark fruits such as prunes, figs and dates. Next, notes of cardboard and furniture polish develop. Overall, this is a well balanced and very enticing nose.
The palate is light-bodied, oily and lightly spicy. Vanilla flavours again come first, followed by caramel and wood spice. The peat is there, very well integrated and getting counterbalanced with sherry sweetness.
The finish is long and smoky. Seaweed is now the dominant flavour, together with cardboard.
This 25-year old is a very nice Laphroaig, for sure. I loved the nose that is really well balanced and nicely complex. The palate however would benefit a lot from a higher ABV - why this was bottled at only 40% beats me. Overall verdict: lovely nose and very well balanced but without much impact, especially on the palate.
@Pierre_W Any 25 yo should be a statement by the distillery. Having Laphroaig releasing a 25 yo at 40% abv without much impact on the palate is simply a shame. It is even more surprising coming from a distillery that has many core expressions offering big strong flavors.
40%!? Wow! Frankly, I'd be put off buying something so old (and no doubt expensive) with such presentation.
That being said, some 40% whiskys work fine - Laphroaig 10 being one of them; but I'd like to see 43% as a minimum.