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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 the American spirits company Beam Inc. These tasting notes refer to batch 002 that was bottled in January 2010.
The nose is a stunner: smoke, phenolic sweetness, vanilla, licorice and coffee notes appear all in a tumble. After a while the initial impact subsides and the nose turns into a sweet melee of soft smoke, hints of fish and vanilla. With water the nose becomes mellower and fruitier, bringing out some butter cookies alongside the vanilla.
The palate is peppery, salty and quite dry. Smoked ham and vanilla are the dominant flavours, followed by coffee and hints of salted fish. With water this becomes quite soft but loses too much of its intensity in my opinion.
The finish is peppery and very dry. Sweet vanilla notes appear again and end in ashy smoke.
This is one of my favourite Laphroaig expressions. The interplay between smoke, salt and vanilla sweetness is stunning, and I savoured every drop of my batch 002 bottle. In my opinion this is best drunk neat as adding water takes too much away of the intensity of this raw and wild single malt.