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Laphroaig An Cuan Mor

Average score from 5 reviews and 6 ratings 92

Laphroaig An Cuan Mor

Product details

  • Brand: Laphroaig
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 48.0%

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Laphroaig An Cuan Mor

Laphroaig distillery (the name means "the beautiful hollow by the broad bay") was established in 1815, by Alex and Donald Johnston. It was sold to Long John International in the 1960ies and subsequently became part of Allied Domecq. Today the distillery is owned by Beam Suntory, the American subsidiary of Japan's Suntory Holdings. Laphroaig An Cuan Mòr was first released in 2013; it is matured in first-fill ex-American white oak bourbon barrels before being re-casked into European oak casks. As the ex-bourbon casks are located in the distillery’s warehouse right next to the Atlantic, the name An Cuan Mòr (meaning “big ocean”) was chosen. Officially this is a travel retail exclusive bottling but specialist stores have it in stock, too. I picked up my bottle at Brussels airport.

The nose starts with rich and sooty smoke, followed by brine, seaweed, as well as faint flavours of vanilla and honey. Later on notes of orange peel and leather develop. All in all this is a wonderfully rounded nose, both medicinal and ‘maritime’.

The palate is medium-bodied and very spicy. There is an earthiness that is almost mouth filling, together with distinct phenolic notes, rich smoke, and a touch of liquorice. Towards the end the oak influence becomes more prominent, with soft wood spice lingering in the background.

The finish is long and warming. The oak is again quite prominent, next to sooty smoke and notes of liquorice.

This is a great Laphroaig, with a beautifully sooty and briny nose and an earthy and phenolic palate that has not lost its sweet edge. In my opinion this tops all of the distillery’s current NAS expressions, including the Quarter Cask, and it could have been 90s material were it not for the oak influence that was a little too much for my liking. But now I am starting to complain for the sake of it, so I’ll say it loud and clear: well done, Laphroaig!


Everyone's into this whole travel retail BS. That's where the big bucks are I suppose. Ignorant travelers with fat wallets who will buy anything that's sitting on a well lit shelf. Usually surrounded by ill-informed staff who are hell bent on selling you what ever it is that makes them the most commission.

And it seems like most distilleries are quite happy to package their mediocre NAS spirit and sell it at a lovely profit. I won't give you any examples - you know very well what I'm talking about.

So when Laphroaig decided to do a Travel Retail exclusive I was quite curious even though I'm not a fan of this marketing gimmick, as you must have guessed by now.

The PX was the first. Quite nice, I must admit. The QA was next. Quite dreadful, actually. Which left the third and final installment in this lineup wide open. Was it going to be worse than the QA or better than the PX?

Well, it was not only better than the PX it knocked it's socks right off. This is a beautifully crafted spirit. Put together from some of the finest first-fill 18 year old bourbon barrels the spirit was then re-casked in European Oak for a period of time.

The result is an exquisitely textured malt which is quite delicious.

Nose: Quite sweet, mandarin sweet. Raisins and black currant. Followed by eucalyptus. The 18 year old maturity starts coming through next on the back of leather and peaty almonds. Finished off with a musky, iodine nutmeg. Lovely.

Palate: Subtle peat and smokey black pepper on chocolate burnt orange. All smeared on an oaky brown bread sandwich.

Finish: That all to familiar iodine with traces of chocolate.

This is by no means simply a marketing gimmick. This is the real deal.

@MaltActivist thanks for the interesting review. You've sold a bottle on your notes!

I agree on your Travel Retail / NAS statement.

I had the pleasure of sampling this one a week ago and absolutely agree. Nice review.


Nose: Wow - this is intense even by Laphroaig's standards. A whack of barbecued orange immediately hits, followed by oaky astringent dried fruit. As we delve further wood smoke starts emanating mixed with a sweet fruitiness - tinned apricot or peaches in syrup is the closest I can think of. A bit of vanilla too. Images of campfires in woodland are springing to mind. There is a lot going on here.

Palate: Quite amazingly smooth for Laphroaig. Intensely sweet and smokey in equal measures. Vanilla is much more apparent now. Orange is not nearly as noticeable but the dried fruit flavours remain. However, I also feel like I have charcoal smoke wafting through my nasal passages and whole head. This is really intense and takes you in all sorts of directions.

Although very smooth, the palate gradually becomes astringent leading to a very dry, long, lingering, lasting finish. Sweet fruit wrapped in a coating of dry charcoal.

I've tried so many expressions of Laphroaig - the 10, a 10 CS, Quarter Cask, Triple Wood, 15, 18 and several indie bottlings. This is my favourite and quite easily. At one time I didn't think the 15 or 18 would be beaten but this has done it. The balance of sweetness and smokiness has been made almost to perfection. Both aspects are intensely delivered without either dominating. Truly a breathtaking malt.

@Nemesis101, thanks for your very interesting review. There is always room in my cabinet for a 98 point Laphroaig. You didn't mention that this is currently Travel Retail Only. That is a bit of a hindrance for some of us, but maybe there is still a chance I can find some.

Laphroaig did sell a limited batch of these on their FoL website about 6 months ago. They had 615 bottles but now it's travel retail only. I agree with @Nemesis101 though, this is top drawer and gets better each time I try it.


As a Laphroaig fan I always get suckered into their special releases. The Cairdeas summer releases such as Origin and Port Wood are hard to get hold of and unless you act fast you miss out. When I got the email saying that they were making 615 bottles available online of this travel retail exclusive I knew if I wanted a bottle I would need to make a snap decision. I then tucked it away as a Christmas present to myself.

I am a huge Laphroaig fan and so have been excited and delighted to have a bottle of this.

An Cuan Mor means "big ocean" and describes the fact that these first fill ex bourbon casks are stored right on the Atlantic Coast. This is then re-casked in European oak. This is non chill filtered and there is no age statement.

You can always spot a Laphroaig by its nose. This one has many of the trademarks and is smokey, salty with rounded vanilla sweetness. There is also pepper, cinnamon and spices stewed apples. This is a big Whisky with more rounder flavours and levels than normal.

The 10, QC and QA cask tend to hide big flavours behind a more muted nose. Take a sip then you get the Laphroaig punch. Not that they are small Whiskies but I poured a small glass of each to compare. The cask 003 2011 batch is closer but has a sweeter almost grain-like note by comparison that this doesn't. It has the sweetness of the batch 003 cask strength but is more oak and a deeper richer sweetness.

The palate... Guess what! Peaty smoke, salty brine, seaweed are of course present. Less iodine than the 10. It's peppery, spicy with a deep sweetness which is hard to pinpoint as it gets masked by smoke. It could be orange peel and you get some oak but less than the triple wood and QC.

The finish is smokey, long, with spicy liquorice and salt.

It's a classic Laphroaig but bigger. I really like it, it's what I had hoped it would be. Top drawer from the clever people at Laphroaig. It's a bit more expensive than the standard expressions but then It is a bit more special.


This is Laphroaig's latest 'travel retail exclusive' and is first matured in first-fill bourbon casks, before further maturation in European oak casks. It's un-chill-filtered.

On the nose, there's the usual Laphroaig seaweed and peat smoke, with frankincense, black pepper, a sweet brininess and vanilla. In the mouth, it's full-bodied, with a big hit of spicy peat smoke, followed by waves of liquorice, cola, pepper and raisins. The finish is big and smokey, very peppery, and then vanilla pokes through to soften the smoke a little.

A great Laphroaig.

I think the oak in this is well balanced, with creamy vanilla notes without being woody. Then again, I love the QC, as well as the cask strength and the 18, so I might be a bit biased towards oak in my whisky!

I wonder, how does this compare with the quarter cask? I find that one is a bit too oaky for my liking. I love the cask strength and the 18 however.

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