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Laphroaig 10yo CS 56.3% b 002 Dec.10
I bought and opened this bottle in December of 2011. I decanted it to a smaller bottle in June 8, 2012 and then again to an even smaller bottle on July 13, 2012. I have scored this particular bottle on six occasions over the past 2 years. The scores in order: 92, 89, 92, 92, 89, and most recently 91. The score seems to average out at 91.
Nose: Sea salt, iodine, peat, and smoke. Classic Laphroaig. Smoking wood in the background, mossy, muddy, and earthy . . . along with plenty of peat. This isn’t as searing and in your face as the 001, but it is similar with slightly less sweetness and bitterness. The sweet vanilla is at a much lower pitch then the 001, which lowers the pitch of the entire nose. However, this batch has a lot more vanilla then batch 004 and 005, while not as much as 001. There is a hint of milk chocolate here to mix with all that peat, smoke, and iodine. This might have the highest and thinnest tone of the batches. Or perhaps that is that same hint of lemon peel (or is that orange citrus?) I am picking up like in the 004. It is interesting and elusive. Every time I come back it seems to change. This might be the closest of the CS batches to the classic “Laphroaig” 10yo nose. It has the peat, the iodine, and smoke . . . just on steroids. However, it lacks some of the depth found in batches 001, 004, and 005.
Taste: Very sweet on the tongue. Sweeter then the 001 and higher tones – almost like an Ardbeg. Vanilla and peat. A little salt and fire behind it, but not a lot of depth or low tones. Very light and almost delicate for such a monster . . . but only in the shadow of the other CS beasts tonight. This has a lot going on in the mid-range.
Finish: Nice lovely burnt fire . . . but it rapidly fades to bitter wood and liquorish. Not what I remember and love. Still, there is plenty of peat and fire HUGE volcano of peat. Several waves of peat fire that last for an age. Very little, if any, smoke. Nowhere near the spice of 001 . . . but the waves are so much more lulling . . . perhaps the shortest finish of the batches (which is still very long).
Balance, Complexity: The nose gets points for constantly being on the move . . . I like that complexity. When this was first opened I noted on two occasions that I thought it was more balanced then batch 001, but without the complexity. However, as the bottled aged the balance shifted off a bit. Over all I don’t find it as complex as I the other batches. This one does seem to be slightly more complex then the standard 10yo, but not as much as the Quarter Cask.
Aesthetic experience: This is a great look. Sad it is the lowest ABV of the Batches. Love this batch variation and the stamp look. It makes it seem just like the standard 10yo stamped and bottled at high proof especially for me!
Conclusion: I was really taken with this batch when it was fresh. But, at the time I only had an old bottle of batch 001 (that had seen plenty of air) to compare it with. So I picked up a second bottle. This first bottle hasn’t aged well. In some tastings some strong bitterness emerged. But with more time it would dissipate. I would say of the batches I have tried this is the sweetest, the least in-your-face, the shortest finish, the least complex, and the most similar to the standard 10yo. This is also the weakest ABV batch release of Laphroaig C.S. to date . . . and my least favorite. But still very good.