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Laphroaig Cask Strength 10 Year Old

Average score from 28 reviews and 107 ratings 90

Laphroaig Cask Strength 10 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Laphroaig
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 55.7%
  • Age: 10 year old

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@Nozinan
Laphroaig Cask Strength 10 Year Old

My kids are in bed, exhausted from their opening performance in “Annie Jr.”, my wife is out celebrating her birthday with friends, and I’m able to sit down and catch up with a review or 2. Who am I kidding, I’m tired too and with three different glasses there’s no way I’ll get through more than one review tonight. So what will it be?

Lucky to have had a visit last month by @Victor, @Maddie and @Paddockjudge near the end of our last exceptionally epic tasting session we opened three peat monsters. This was one of them, a gem acquired for me by @Paddockjudge (many thanks). It was only slightly less than full (we did small pours) and gassed since opening May 20.

This expression is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.


I rarely comment on appearance but this is just lovely in the glass. Amber syrup that appears oily and very viscous.

Nose:

Neat – In the Glencairn I first get hit with peat and smoke. Some lemon citrus in the background. Sweet syrup. Later, some dust. In the snifter I get a cross between burning plastic and volatile airplane glue. The peat is more muted but the syrup is there. Funnily I get a hint of bourbon in the Kentucky bourbon glass (yes, I did wash it after last use). The airplane glue and peat are in the background. This is a busy and rich nose. 22.5/25

With water – More syrupy, lemony, and the smoke is more in the background (22/25)

Taste:

Neat – In the Glencairn, Rich sweet arrival. Sour smoky development. A little citrus in the background. The snifter provides a bitter arrival and sweet development. Creamier mouthfeel and muted smokiness in the bourbon glass. This is a very unidimentional whisky on the palate. 21.5/25

With water – A little hotter, but the flavour becomes richer. (22.5/25)

Finish: Ashtray alert! I feel I could blow smoke rings a long time after the sip. 22/25

Balance: This is essentially a one trick pony, if you like peat, the nose and the palate deliver. 22/25

Score: Neat - 88/100 With Water: 88.5/100

Overall score based on enjoyment: 90/100


If you like sweet peat and you like rich, and you are a fan of full flavour, this is one to have in your cabinet. Although I was blown away by this when we opened it together, it’s not quite as fun on my own. It’s not complex, but it is a very impressive atomic peat bomb.

This just means I probably won’t be reaching for this one unless I have someone or some people over who will appreciate something that is almost impossible to find in Canada.

I liked this one best in the Glencairn.

A very nice review. Can't wait to try this one head2head with Laphroaig 18YO 48% abv. With a lot of water the CS Laphroaig becomes a beautiful drink, full of citrus and smoke. Can you call it a cocktail if whisky is mixed with only water and ice?...if so, this would be a delicious cocktail on a scorching hot day like today. Tip of the hat to Laphroaig for releasing this one at CS. Tip of the hat to @StevieC for the trade...in case you are wondering it was a Nikka Taketsuru 17 going the other way and a few more bottles on both sides.

"Atomic Peat Bomb"—heck yeah!

I think I get more of a peat blast from Laphroaig 10 CS than I get from any other whisky. One of these days I'm gonna give myself blind pours of (say) this, an Octomore X.1, Lagavulin 12, an indie CS Caol Ila, and whatever other CS peaters I have kicking around, and see how they stack up. I've long suspected that Laphroaig 10 CS would out-peat Octomore & all the rest, any day of the week.

@talexander

I'm sitting here waiting for my new BBQ to be delivered, so hey let's review Laphroaig 10 Year Old Cask Strength, and try it side-by-side with the standard 10 Year Old. This Cask Strength bottle is from Batch 007 and was bottled in January 2015. This bottle has been open probably for about a year.

The colour is a golden yellow. The nose has those classic Laphroaig elements: wet campfire, iodine, citrus and seaweed. Linoleum. Plastic-y vinyl. Only slightly herbaceous. Very briny. With a drop of water, the malt comes through, surrounded by lemon and raspberries. I love this.

On the palate we have lots of mouth-drying alcohol, with more citrus, toasted oak, sourdough and vanilla. Light caramel. Lots of prickly peat, obviously...but behind that is a lot of complexity and subtlety. Once you get past the alcohol there is a very creamy mouthfeel. Water increases the smoke, spice and creaminess. This is everything I love about scotch.

The wow finish has more peat smoke, lemon curd, smoked paprika and cayenne, followed by pine and prosciutto toward the end. Of course, we all understand that reviewing whisky (like anything) is completely subjective, and so your mileage may vary depending on your tolerance for high ABV and shovelfuls of peat. But I adore this and wish I had a case (alas, this is the last dram from my bottle). The label says "We recommend that you add twice as much water as whisky to fully appreciate the taste characteristics...." Wow, that's a lot of water! That would bring the ABV down to 18.8% which, I'm sorry, I am not doing, no no no. Interestingly, the standard 10 Year Old (43% ABV) is slightly darker in colour (due to caramel colouring?); otherwise all the other notes are simply the same but dialled down a couple of notches - which makes sense as the CS is simply undiluted standard 10 Year Old. Anyway, I love them both so much. Also, my BBQ still hasn't arrived.

A good substitute for a BBQ. I'm also surprised by how much water you say they suggest to add - each to their own. I hope you're grilling meat on your new barbie soon.

Several years back I compared the 10 to the CS (watered down) and found the CS was noticeably better, even diluted to about 40-45%. Best peater for the money out there.

@JasonHambrey

I was introduced to this bottling by @Victor - I believe from Batch 5, and I fell in love with it. Saw this for $52 in Vermont and had to get a bottle - that is a terrific deal.

Recommended to drink diluted 2:1 with water (~19%). At this strength, the nose is certainly impressive – mineral characteristics, hay, a touch of a floral character (elderflower), salt stone, burning leaves, smoke, earth and roots, orange peel, mixed roasted nuts, and iodine – the elderflower is just terrific, and bridges between the earthy and smoke flavours while also brightening up the entire nose. On the palate, lots of smoke, dried seaweed, and cucumber. Terrific finish with building smoke. However, not the strength I’d drink it at – though fun for the sake of nosing.

At 43%, compared to the standard 10 year old, not quite as dark in colour and a bit hazy (good on it!) – more marine, and more farmy – and the mineral character is quite sharp as well – actually sharper and more clearly cut. A bit sweeter, too, and the spices are bigger with a bit more tannin – even at this diluted level. Finishes with some brilliant ash and spice. Even at 43%, better than the terrific standard 10- year old.

Finally, cask strength: the nose, of course, is concentrated with alcohol being heavy yet concentrating the floral elderflower, smoke, and vanilla – I notice the oak here in a way I didn’t at either of the lower strengths. Everything else is there, still, at this strength – a beauty. The palate has terrific feel and body, with a moving, powerful, dry peat and tingling spices. Spicy cigar spices on the finish, eventually fading to vanilla and oak.

Not as good, in my memory, as batch 5 – but I don’t have a side by side comparison to investigate properly. Still, a wow whisky.

Yeah, the batch 5 stuff is a bit confusing here.

But way to go on the experimentation! I don't think many people actually try that heavy dilution so strangely recommended by Laphroaig. (I never have.)

Yeah, batch 007 is pretty darn good. I just finished a bottle recently and thought it was about as good as 2 & 3 and better than 4. I'd like to pick up a couple more, but need to clear out some lesser bottles first. Laphroaig has been in a good patch lately, as the 15 and 2015 Cairdeas were also very good.

@Victor

Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength, Batch # 007, was bottled in January 2015. The reviewed bottle has been open for 11 weeks and is 80% full

Colour: medium tones

Nose: moderate smoke; peat which is bitter, sweet, and very attractive; black licorice from peat; classic Laphroaig brine package. The intensity is moderate for Laphroaig, but would be very strong for most malts. Lovely. Water added raises the pitch and blends together the flavours. This is nice but less complex with water added. Score: 22/25

Taste: quite righteous in the mouth, with both peat and brine coming on quite strongly. They are edged and delicious. Why would you add water? But, with water, black licorice dominates and the flavours blend together. Score: 23.5

Finish: very long very strong finish, with the peat being the most dominant feature. The peat on finish is mostly leaning toward the bitter. Lots of licorice at the end. The water-added finish continues the water-added palate, and actually increases the sweetness. Score: 23/25

Balance: this all works, in the classic heavily-peated Islay sort of way. Score: 22.5/25

Total Sequential Score: 91 points

Strength: all of the flavours are very strong. Score: 24/25

Quality: all of the flavours are of high quality. Score: 23/25

Variety: there is plenty of variety among the peaty/smokey/briney flavours, even if you don't much taste malted barley or oak. Score: 22/25

Harmony: very good harmony in all phases. Score: 22/25

Total Non-Sequential Score: 91 points

Comment: this Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength, Batch # 007 is the absolute prototype for me of what Laphroaig is at its most representative. I love it. If I had the space and money for it I could put aside 15 bottles of this and consider it a long-term standard dram. I've liked every batch of Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength which I have tried, but # 007 is one of my top favourites, along with Batch # 003. If someone wanted to rate this batch a point or two higher than I did, I certainly would not quibble with that person. I am a fan

@BlueNote, thanks for joining in. For some reason most of Canada doesn't seem to get distribution of Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength. You already have a lot of other good options, because all of those you have mentioned are very much worth having as well. I think that you will be pleased when you do get some bottles of the 10 Cask Strength to add to your collection. Laphroaig ranks near the top for me among distilleries in consistency of high quality of their products. Some you will like more than others, but so far I have never seen a really bad one.

@Victor - a wonderful review! I am spot on with you. My score is also a 91.

@Robert99 - @Victor took the words out of my mouth. Batch 006 is one of those rare peated whiskies that seemed to improve with time. (I have found almost every other Laphroaig 10yo CS tends to fall off and become slightly bitter with air time).

Maybe it was just that I "got to know 006 more." Who knows? I can only tell you that my preference is slightly in-favor of 006 over 007 by a margin of only one point. However, your experience might vary. Obviously, the best thing is to have one of each and compare them side by side.

Thanks to @Victor I have multiple bottles now of 006 and 007. My current bottle of 007 is now down to only two fingers. Once that runs out I plan to open bottles of both 007 and 006 on the same day and try to see how both evolve over the next year. We will see how much restraint I can manage.

@Uisgebetha

Amber coloured with a strong aroma of peaty smoke rich in phenols, almost like macadam. The flavours are not much different with lots of attack not surprisingly, but the peat smoke is difficult to get past. A dash of water brings out some sweetness and a little hot spice (ginger?) toning down the phenols a bit at the same time. The finish is dominated by the same smoky haze with maybe some sweeter malt and some soft peat. Great stuff if you like peat smoke to the exclusion of all else. I should add this is not a recent bottling and may not represent current CS Laphroaig.

Which batch? 006?

@hunggar

Batch 007. Seems we’ve got the James Bond edition of Laphroaig Cask Strength 10 year old here. If the regular 10 year old doesn’t have enough kick for you, how does 56.3% abv sound?

Nose: Typical Laphroaig, with some added meatiness maybe. Peat, ash, tar, diesel, brine, smoked ham, honey, faint vanilla, faint malt.

Palate: Great intensity and kick, with a thicker mouthfeel than the standard 10. Peat, ash, anise, caramel, tarmac, diesel, oysters.

Finish: Gets pretty dry and ashy here, with a gentle sweetness just behind it. Salted caramel, brine, ham, tarmac, oysters, sweet barbecue sauce, very faint oak, and some lingering ash.

Thoughts: Yup, it’s unmistakably Laphroaig. It’s basically exactly what it promises. I’ve been known to whine about whiskies being too predictable, and that could be applied here. But in this case it would be intended as a compliment. There’s perhaps a bit more diesel and salted caramel here, and less wood than anticipated, but it’s still largely what you’d hope for and expect from a 10 year old CS Laphroaig. It’s big, ballsy, meaty, ashy, briny, and rugged. Although pricey, I think this is loads of fun. Not for fans of subtlety.

Thanks for the review. I am excited about your description of "diesel" and less "wood." I am anxiously awaiting a bottle of this batch to arrive near me. I have been slightly disappointed by the last two batches (005 & 006). I can't tell if it is just my poor memory, my expanding experience with peaty whisky, or an actual dip in quality.

@Conundrum, it seems @MaltActivist is the man to talk to. I've never tried the 15 in any form, nor the Cairdeas. This and the Triple Wood have been my only helpings of Laphroaig lately; two whiskies I've been enjoying thoroughly.

@MaltActivist

Laphroaig, since 2009, have been churning out a cask strength version of their 10 year old every year. Each edition identifiable by the batch number.

I've pretty much enjoyed each and every one of these releases though Batch 003 is slightly ahead of the pack. This Cask Strength series is also one of the reasons why Laphroaig is on top of my Brilliant Distillery list. If there's anything dependable in the world right now it's that the next release in this series is going to be bloody good.

Just as this one is.

Bottled at a hefty 58% it is closer to the Laphroaig core flavors compared to the other batches. While the others were a touch restrained this one goes all out.

Nose: Immediate soot and ash. Dying embers on a smoldering barbecue that's just seen a plateful of sausages. Cold cuts on the side. Faint seaweed and salty fishing nets bring out the maritime nature of the spirit. Earthy peat mixed with dried tea and cherry sweets. It's a strong captivating nose. Darker and stormier than it's predecessors.

Palate: Remarkably sweet. Figs and raisins. Then some citrus. Oranges, lemons and lime all covered in ash. Brewed black tea. Finally powerful white spices on peat. This is sexy jet fuel.

Finish: Insanely long. All I can think about is lemons. Lots of lemons. Spicy lemons.

So happy Laphroaig is taking the time out to put these spirits together. It makes being disappointed by Ardbeg that much easier.

"Sexy jet fuel"! I love it.

Laphroaig CS is one of the few repeat buys I've made over my few years as a malt drinker. This review just shone a Peat Signal into my sky and presages another notch on my Laphroaig bedpost. (Yes, I like my whisky neat and my metaphors mixed.)

@MaltActivist thank you for the review. This is one expression I see consistently rating top notch here on Connosr. I am keen to get my hands on it, but it is not freely available here in Sydney.

R

This one is sharper than the 003, which I liked better. Still, it's a great bargain and going fast. I've hard tell that Laphroaig might ease off the cask strength bottlings. Then again, that's merely gossip by peat heads, who tend to get paranoid about losing their fix, so to speak.

Well, this bottle is adequate for an inveterate peat head to enchant himself (or herself) with a snort of hand-shoveled smoking barley while dreaming of Islay.

Here are my notes:

Nose: I don't find the TSP as loud in here as the regular ten year. Camphor, chalk, pine resin, crayon wax, dates, vanilla bean, licorice root chew stick, cheap cologne (Jovan musk for men), pork shoulder.

Mouth: Smoke and peat that quickly turn sweet, almost to a sickly extent, but still within the acceptable range for a good Laphroaig offering. Dark chocolate (over 85% cacao), green olives (again), iodine, dried seaweed, smoked monk fish, Listerine mouthwash, TSP, fennel, clove, bitter oak, sage.

Finish: Peat subsides to oak and then turns bitter on the death. Medium long. More bitter and less well rounded than the 003.

Here's what I said about the 003 a year ago. As you can see, the finish was better, warmer and more buttery. The "edge" reminded me more of chickory than this one. This one is slightly acrid. Then again, I just opened the bottle. Oxygen can work wonders. If the whisky changes significantly, I will review it again.

003 Tasting Note Highlights: Aromatic gifts of pine sap, iodine (of course), seaweed, oak, green olives, cloves.

In the mouth, it opens up into crispy bacon, sherry, smoked trout, buttered toast, fireplace ash.

As it trickles down the mid-palate, savory flavors take a turn for the sweeter, transforming themselves mercurially and magically into chocolate, chickory coffee, Rocky Patel robusto cigar wrapper, lemon, vanilla bean, and Ritter Sport wafer.

The finish is long, lush, and multi-various with hints of many of the flavors listed in the palate that flitter across the psychological gulf from the tongue to the brain.

@rigmorole

I decided to respond to your question here.

First, thanks for the review. I wish I had a taste of batch 003 . . . but currently I am unwilling to lay down the cash it would require to procure said batch from overseas. We will see if I change my mind. THAT said, I am grateful to read a comparison review of these two batches.

As to my own review of batch 005 . . . I am going to have to adjust it (yet another reason I wish I could change not only the score but the actual review here on connosr). My posted review opinion has changed as the bottle has been opened. The dark fruits I found at first (especially when compared to other batches) now seem to have drastically receded into the background. Further, it has become much more bitter in the taste and finish. My scores for this bottle have ranged from 92 to 87. That said, I would probably settle on a final score of 90.5 (if that were possible) as an over all score to represent the journey of this batch. It is most certainly not my favorite CS batch. In fact, I find myself reaching for the standard 10yo (which I score around 88) over this bottle. Why? Because I just enjoy it more. This has enough complexity, power, and balance to bump up my score . . . but it is very different from the standard 10yo in a way I don’t enjoy as much as other CS batches.

So with all that said, I can totally see your score for this batch and agree.

Nock: I got up this morning and took a wee nip of this bottle. Holy cow, it's improved! Is that possible in only fifteen hours of having been opened?

At any rate, just bumped my review up to 90. It's definitely better all around. I'm getting two more bottles of this stuff in case Laphroaig quits making any more cask strength hooch.

@MaltActivist

This one is awesome!

No preamble, no build up. Straight up this Batch 3 of the Laphroaig Cask Strength series is a gem!

For those who know me know that I'm a little OCD so when I first bought the Batch 004 I instantly knew I had to collect the entire series. Good thing we were only up to Batch 005 up until that point. Of the lot the one I'm most glad to have acquired is this one.

Nose: That same elegant and poised peat that I've come to love from this series. But this time with a nutty almond surprise that blends in beautifully with a drop of cherries and red apple licorice. Give it time and it turns beautifully green. First some olives in brine, then green peas and edemame all against the backdrop of fresh oaky grass. Brilliant.

Palate: What a robust and creamy delivery! A lovely discourse of minty maple syrup and chocolate sprinkled artfully with black peppers and a touch of dusty red berries. I almost feel there is a cheeky sherry cask in here some where. I could be wrong but I would love to be right!

Finish: Lingers long and true with just the right amount of oak.

This is truly a masterclass in balance and elegance.

Great review, @tabarakRazvi, well done! The only batch that I ever tried was 002 and I loved it! This just shows how good a 10-year old bottling can be, and I find it to be so much more interesting and powerful than Laphroaig's regular 10-year old expression. I shall look forward to your reviews of the other batches! Btw, I liked the edamame that you detected on the nose and will look for them next time.

Thanks for the kind words @Pierre_W - This is such a brilliantly crafted spirit. I wonder if there's anything else going on here other than just serving the 10yr old at cask strength. If I didn't know any better I would think there was a touch of sherried spirit in here some where. Not on the nose but for some reason on the palate.

@Victor couldn't agree more...

@Nock

Laphroaig 10yo CS 57.2% b 005 Feb. 13: bought 10/12/2013; opened 11/22/2013

Nose: Peat, sweet, and subtle. This has many shared characteristics with batch 004, but with a little more liquorish. This also has the darkest and most pronounced fruit notes of the night: plumbs, and dates mixed with peat, wood, smoke and liquorish. Yes, this has the most “lush” nose of the batches. It is easy to relax in the soft velvety bed of peat. It has the darkest “sweet” tones of the night – all sugar coated dark fruit. Now more wood, Thai Basil, and a hint of peat smoke. This isn’t the most complex nose, but it certainly creates a ton of images in my mind: It actually feels like a winter hike in snow covered mountains where the sun comes out and almost blinds you . . . only to duck behind a cloud and some evergreen trees. Oh, that was just unnecessary . . . but you get my meaning. This has the most “tea” like nose of the bunch . . . whatever that might mean.

Taste: Medium sweet followed by chunks of wood, ocean brine, seaweed, and moss. This batch is very “ocean” style powerful. There are also sweet fruits (dates, plumbs) and peat. Very interesting mix. This has a very strong wood flavor (bark), and is very drying compared to the other batches. This can’t stay in your mouth long or the salt takes over!

Finish: Huge intake of breath now wave after wave of pounding peat, and ocean salt spray. Huge mossy peat – woody peat. This is a peat bomb. As the waves calm down you have the foam and seaweed. It has that slightly bitter thing about Laphroaig that I love. Not the explosion of the 004, but a deep bomb of peat and iodine. It doesn’t send out ripples – just layers of peat moss, dark fruits, and a little bit of ash coat the mouth . . . and last for an age and a half.

Balance, Complexity: Complex nose for certain, it is just the least traditional “Laphroaig” style of the batches here tonight. The dark sweet fruits on the nose show up on the taste and the finish. However, the peat is the subtle star here. It intermingles on the nose, but shows up big time on the taste and finish. The 002 might be the closest to the standard Laphroaig 10yo, while the 004 batch moves in a darker direction. This batch is the next step in the evolution. I’m not sure I like it better than any of the others.

Aesthetic experience: I don’t love this new style bottle. I can see how they are trying to harken back to the old “Red Stripe” style while also including the new batch information. Sadly, I don’t think it is as successful. The batch info is hard to read. Also, I don’t love the new Prince of Wales Crest. Let me say, I don’t mind the new 10yo style bottle; I just wish they would have kept the batch stamp idea. The ABV is ok at 57.2% . . . but it is the second lowest batch . . . and I love me some high octane peat monsters.

Conclusion: I would call this the deepest, and lowest tone of the batches (001, 002, 004, and 005). It has the most dark fruit and liquorish notes. However, it lacks the strong vanilla found in 001 and 004, and the high tones of citrus. I am tempted to buy another bottle for future comparison . . . but I would much rather get another bottle of 004 or 001 (or find a 003). I have only taken notes with this guy on two occasions both times scoring 92. My expectation is that this score will lower over time. I will have to revisit it in the coming months to see how it changes. So far it is fine . . . but it makes me look forward to the next batch.

To sum up all these batches 001, 002, 004, and 005 – they are all going to give you that Laphroaig peat fix. Some are sweeter, some are stronger, some have more vanilla, some have more fruit, some are easier on the mouth – but all are good and worth the money.

I am now down to the last few fingers of this bottle, and I have decided to change my rating from a 92 down to a 90.5 - which connosr can't accommodate. So I will round up because it is still very good. The bottle was better when it was fresh. However, over time it has turned a little bitter on me. It isn't every night but it does happen. Further, the flavors in the batch are a departure from standard Laphroaig in my book. I don't like it as well. I hope batch 006 is different and not more of the same.

@Nock

Laphroaig 10yo CS 58.6% b 004 Jan.12

I opened this guy on July 13th of 2013. I decanted a 200mL bottle the day I opened it. I have now tasted it on six occasions the last being from the decanted bottle. The scores in order are: 93, 95, 94, 94, 92, and from the 200mL bottle last month a score of 95.

Nose: Even darker then the 001. This is very earthy, peaty, wet wood, and black liquorish. This is sharper with more edges then the 005. Lovely woody peat. This has the strongest peat embers of the night. There is also some citrus (lemon peel?) that the 005 lacks to give brightness to this dark nose. This definitely has a fire, astringency and iodine attack that the others all lack. It has not only the antiseptic, but also the darkest peat notes fattened up by chocolate and caramel. Yes, this is also the most medicinal of the batches. However, compared to batches 001 and 002 this is much more focused on low bass tones. Batch 005 actually seems to have lower pitches than this batch (I think it lacks the high citrus notes), but the 004 seems more dense and complex.

With water: more vanilla and less dark; more fire and spice. My favorite batch with water.

Taste: Sweet and peat in a wonderful harmony. Wonderful ocean mixing with peat. This is the one that can stay the longest on your tongue . . . despite the ABV! Now it is growing in intensity! Dark sweetness and mossy brackish water . . . with mint? Chocolate covered fruit and peat. Lots of minerality with the peat; sweet caramel covered apples bobbing in a trough of peat water, salt and smoke.

Finish: Huge big blast of peat . . . pow . . . takes your senses away . . . now comes the sea salt, iodine, seaweed coated wood . . . wonderful and long. Big dry salty peat explosions . . . huge! Peat, earth, dirt, oak with caked on dirt, smoke, and brick dust. Now it turns to some liquorish and wood and back to semi-sweet peat. Biggest finish of the batches. The mouth is left with wet leaves, salt, wet earth, and smoke . . . lovely and long. This is my favorite finish of the night – it is the most intense (which makes sense with the ABV).

Balance, Complexity: This is more like it. It has the complexity I love from good Laphroaig balanced nicely with some citrus and sweet. I find it the most complex of the batches (perhaps tied with 001). The balance on the nose, taste, and finish are delightful. I love the extra dimension where the darkness and took this one. I was afraid it was so dark in the glass because of e-150a . . . but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Still not far and away above the others.

Aesthetic experience: Nice high ABV makes me happy. It is darker in the glass then either 001 or 002. It is also the last of the old style batch bottles. I’ll need to pick up another before they are all gone.

Conclusion: This is my favorite Laphroaig CS batch that I have tasted (obviously, I haven’t had the 003). On the two nights where I put all four batches that I own up against each other this one stood out as a departure from batches 001 and 002. It seems to have more in common with batch 005. However, batch 005 is taking things in a different direction that I am not sure I like as much. For my money I wish I had more bottles of this one. I would say this is the most complex batch (perhaps tied with 001), the most medicinal, and has the biggest finish. It also holds up best over time – which is huge in my book.

Hi Nock, great comparison of the CS batches. I only have batch 3 (unopened) in my cabinet. Haven't tasted the other batches.

A few months back I tipped @tabarakRazvi about some Laphroaig CS batches still available here in Holland. I believe he was looking for batch 2 to complete his collection and eventually ordered it and they shipped it to Dubai. Don't know if you can import from Holland to your state, but if you can, have a look at Whiskysite.nl they have batch 3 available.

whiskysite.nl/single-malt-scotch-whisky/…

Another store is Passie voor Whisky. A bit more expensive, but they have batch 1,3,4,5 available. And some other even more expensive CS Laphroaig bottles.

passievoorwhisky.nl/whisky/islay-whisky-44/…

They ship globally and is also a respected store (Ardbeg Embassy) in Holland.

@Nock

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.

@Nock

Laphroaig 10yo Cask Strength 57.8% batch 001 Feb.09 OB

I opened this bottle on 11/24/2010. I eventually decanted it in to a 200mL bottle on 4/6/2012. That 200mL bottle has been half full for 6 months now. Looking back at my notes for this bottle it was extremely powerful when it was first opened. It was all about intense smoke and peat fire. Then on one tasting session it was very soapy and bitter. After I decanted it the whisky seemed to calm down and regain some of its balance.

What I have come to realize about all high ABV peat monsters is that I like them best in the first week and month that they are opened. After a month or so some of the intensity and vitality go out of the bottle. That said, I also believe that true test of a bottle is judged over the lifespan of the bottle. In this case the bottle has been open for over 3 years now, and I have scored it on 5 occasions: 95 (fresh bottle), 91, 92, 92, and 93. The average is 92.6. I am going to round it up given how much I like the freshly opened bottle (and wish I had done a better job of decanting this particular one).

I recently did two head-to-head tasting sessions with the Laphroaig 10yo CS batches 1, 2, 4, and 5 (sadly I missed picking up 003 when I could). In the last tasting session I accidentally mistook batch 002 for 001 for half of the tasting session. After I realized my mistake I went back and made corrections. It only confirmed my previous tastings of these two bottles. . . I like 001 better. In fact, it might be my favorite “when freshly opened.” That said here are the results from these two recent-head-to head tastings.

Nose: The peat here is deep and mossy. It is a deep, rich, dry peat. It has that lovely bitter peat or bitter tree bark thing from the standard Laphroaig 10yo. There is much more earth, moss, and dirt in 001 then the iodine and smoke I found in the 002. Still, 001 has more iodine and smoke then either the 004 or the 005. It has a nice little peat bonfire going on. However, 001 also has the most vanilla on the nose of any of the CS batches. With time that bitter note is all gone. More and more batch 002 seems like a lighter version of batch 001 to me. This really is a lovely nose. I liked it better then the 002 (even when I mixed them up and thought I like the “002” better). Can’t lie to myself - 001 and the 004 are tied for favorite noses of the night.

Taste: Sweet on the front in a nice balanced “peaty” way. The dominant tones are vanilla, peat, and oak. That said you still find tons of salt, ocean, iodine, and medicine (think band-aids). This batch is much more drying then the 002.

Finish: Huge tidal wave of sea salt, iodine, and peat . . . the sea salt is astounding. Salt covers everything. Scalding sea salt and peat fire overwhelm the senses. Huge wall of peat fire crescendos into a tsunami of sweet peat fire, charred wood, citrus, vanilla and sea salt. Here vanilla and peat smoke are wrapped in a struggle for world domination. It is almost more then the mouth can handle. The fire goes on for an age as does the salt . . . is that bacon? No intake of breath before the peat explosion like an Ardbeg; just a huge explosion of peaty smoky Laphroaig. Truly amazing and long. This is one huge tidal wave from the ocean along with moss, seaweed, and other “green” algae . . . that then carries on for a long time. However, the peat and vanilla are really the stars in this malt while the smoke only comes to the fore at the end.

Balance, Complexity: More complex then the 10yo for certain. Only balanced if you count a tsunami as being balanced (which I do). This has a depth and richness I look for in the Laphroaig Cask Strength. It isn’t the most balanced or complex tonight . . . but it is a close second in both categories (and this from a long opened bottle). The balance of peat smoke and vanilla sweetness is quite good.

Aesthetic experience: I actually really like this bottle. It is very special because 1.) it is the first release and 2.) it is my sister’s birthday (although I know Feb. 09 really means Feb. of 2009). Still, there is something about the first 001 batch number. I really wish I had bought a reserve bottle (at the time I was mourning the loss of the Red Stripe version). Love the Laphroaig bottle mainly because of the crest of the Prince of Wales. The White on green bottle is my least favorite of the Big 3. However, big points for the look to the Cask Strength bottle with the stamp. It looks like the 10yo but with a stamp in “just the right place.” The only thing I wish it had was the 1815 sticker like the 10yo and ¼ Cask.

Conclusion: Plain and simple I like this batch better then batch 002. This is my second favorite behind 004. Of the batches this has the most vanilla, the most salt, and is the most mossy.

@MaltActivist

Laphroaig has been releasing a 10 year old Cask Strength version every year for the last five and I've managed to get my hands on all except the second. So if you have access to Batch 002 somehow please let me know.

Right, now on to the 5.

Strong Laphroaig-ian nose. Unlike the recent Cairdeas releases where the nose has been very subtle this one makes no excuses about it's birth-right. The strong peat, seaweed and iodine burst through beautifully riding on a wave of golden, dark oranges coated in a lovely brown sugar brittle. Finally there's a touch of butterscotch with a crinkling of almond husk and an unusual hint of fresh soap.

The palate is a strong white pepper delivery on a wave of oaky sweet honey, raisins and lemon tart. This one has to stay on the palate for a while to be truly appreciated.

The long long finish is a touch spicy and coats your entire mouth with a slightly chalky (but in a good way), salivating minty finish.

Batch 002 is still available at one of my favorite Whisky shops. Only problem is: it is based in holland. Although they do ship elsewhere.

whiskysite.nl/nl/Nieuw-Toegevoegd/…

Thanks for this one. How does 005 compare to the other batches? I've only tried two: 004, which I thought very good, but not quite up to the exceptional standards of 003.

Passing thought of no importance: I've noticed product placements for Talisker and Macallan in recent James Bond films. Perhaps Laphroaig could do the same with batch 007, which will be released the same year (2015) as the next Bond film.

@Pierre_W

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.

R

Now here is a savory scotch if I've ever tasted one!

Aromatic gifts of pine sap, iodine (of course), seaweed, oak, green olives, cloves.

In the mouth, it opens up into crispy bacon, sherry, smoked trout, buttered toast, fireplace ash.

As it trickles down the mid-palate, savory flavors take a turn for the sweeter, transforming themselves mercurially and magically into chocolate, chickory coffee, Rocky Patel robusto cigar wrapper, lemon, vanilla bean, and Ritter Sport wafer.

The finish is long, lush, and multi-various with hints of many of the flavors listed in the palate that flitter across the psychological gulf from the tongue to the brain.

When compared with the Quarter Cask and the 18, The Laphroaig 10 Year Cask Strength really shines. Yes, I can easily say that I prefer it to either.

The Quarter Cask, while quite good, simply does not have the maturity and range of the Cask Strength. It is sharper and more upfront with the wood to the detriment of other more subtle and dazzling flavors which mature across the full ten year spectrum that the QC simply does not have, despite the smaller barrel.

The Laphroaig 18, which is admitted more sophisticated, is also more mellow and does not have quite the bombastic range of things happening in the mouth. It is a more gentile version of the 10 cask, and that has its advantages. I feel the 18 is generally underrated whereas the Cask 10 is generally overlooked. And that is a mistake on the part of those who have not deigned to try it when it was available in pubs and stores near them.

Batch: 3. Bottled on Jan 11. No year listed.

@Rigmorole: Interesting review! I agree with your general assessment, though I like the QC and 18 for different reasons. I think that "overlooked" and "overrated" apply to both the CS and the 18, probably because at the moment they are priced much lower than other comparable whiskies. (Take, for example, Lagavulin 12 CS, which costs much more than the Laga 16.) To be honest, I hope that Laphroaig continues to be overlooked so that the prices stay where they are.

@GotOak91: the OO4 batch is excellent. As much as I liked the OO3, but I like the 004 even better.

Just tasting it again and I wanted to add that Batch 004 has more of the wood and sugar that are recognizable from the QC. The 003 is more "old school." I no longer have the 003 around, so I cant do a direct comparison. The think that the fifth batch may already be out.

@WhiskyBee

Forced to choose a preference among the Big Three Peat Monsters of Islay, those whose cupolas serve sentry duty on the southern shores, I would have to admit to being a proud passenger on the Ardbeg bandwagon. Lagavulin is a very close second; closer than the objects appear in your rear-view mirror, in fact. If I rank Laphroaig third, I still bestow upon it superstar status. These three are the Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron of whisky. (For you non-Yanks out there, those guys were baseball players. Very good ones, so I hear.)

I’m no Serge Valentin when it comes to my whisky cabinet. He’s tasted about 700 expressions from each of the aforementioned; I’ve had a combined total of 11 from all three. But if the core-range OBs are good indications of a distillery’s profile, then I know what I like. And I do indeed like Laphroaig 10 yo Cask Strength. This stuff has bigger cajones than Teddy Roosevelt fighting a grizzly bear.

Tasting notes based on my fifth dram from a Batch #003 bottle, opened about four months ago. As warm-ups, I began this evening with a dram each of the standard 10 yo and the Quarter Cask. (I also own the Triple Wood and the 18 yo, but I wouldn’t be able to write the review if I sampled all five.)

Nose: Well, peat. Make that a gale force of peat. Peat as subtle as a stick of dynamite in a keg of nails. The peat remains the elephant in the room, although it evolves quickly as the nose turns surprisingly delicate overall. After a couple of minutes, I get salty sea air, pepper, and Chap Stick. If I angle my nose just right, I can really smell the oak wood as well. After braving a wee sip neat, I added a teaspoon of water, and then returned to the nose. There’s more sweetness fighting its way to the surface now—citrus rinds and bananas in particular—but the peat smoke, wood, and seashores retain their dominance.

Palate: There are a few strong whiskies I can handle neat, but this is nothing but pure flaming pepper in its raw form. With a bit of water, there’s still plenty of zing, especially in the arrival, with peat and pepper again to the fore. What an amazing development: warm, chewy, mouth-coating, incredibly dense, and a well-balanced juxtaposition of sweet (toffee, chocolate, and sno-cone syrup), spicy (salt, pepper, cloves), bitter (wood and wood smoke), and sour (vinegar, brine, and day-old fish that’s been left on the counter but hasn’t gone bad yet).

The finish is characteristically Laphroaig-ish, and this is the component that influences my ranking Laphroaigs a few points lower than other peat classics. On the upside, it’s fairly long and warm, with more of the good spices and seashores. Then comes the typical Laphroaig coda: Wood. Thud. I like a woody taste in many whiskies, but this is bitter, acrid, neutralizing wood that just doesn’t compliment anything that came before. A few hearty, whooshy open-mouthed exhales help recall the good things in the finish, but the wood always returns in the end for one last “Nyah-nyah!”

Others rave about the finish to this ’phoaig, so maybe I’m a lone voice midst the peat bogs. That I still score it in the low 90s indicates the high esteem I have for this whisky. A few moments of “Bleagh!” in the epilogue aren’t enough to undermine the brilliance of the main storyline.

Thanks for the compliments, guys. I probably would have edited out some of the nonsense if I hadn't been dozing off towards the end of writing this. I was too tired to give it a once-over, so I just thought, "Good enough," clicked "send," and went to bed.

@badscientist -- Salty sea air and Chap Stick are a sort of iodine equivalent. Should have just said "nail polish," which most people associate with iodine. (To be honest, I'm not sure what pure iodine smells like. I haven't smelled it since I was about five years old and my grandmother used that awful, stinging tincture of iodine on my cuts and scrapes. At least mom was kind enough to use Bactine.)

Another great review, man. I've been wanting to try this one for a while. Though I think the regular 10 yr is simply "Ok", I still gotta try this one as most of the reviews are pretty strong. Thanks for the review.

@squidboy007

So maximum. You all have tasted Laphroaig, at least one of the big Islay's. Laphroaig 10 has long been my favorite scotch. This stuff is like doubling the intensity of that, then adding little men with flamethrowers in it. It's incredibly drinkable, even sans water- then with water, it becomes the beloved Laphroaig 10 we all know and love. Felt like a rite of passage (for my nostrils.)

I would give it 100...but I'm saving that for some inevitable bottle of something I might find down the long road of life. Slainte!!!

Ha! I get a bang out of the "little men with flamethrowers."

I get a bang out of the Laphroaig 10 CS too.

@Victor

Thanks to @MarsViolet for my review sample of Laphroaig Cask Strength, batch # 003, @ 55.3% ABV. The bottle was opened August 5, 2012

Nose: moderate smoke and peat, malty and briney with gusto, a little sweeter than I expected at first. Very pleasant

Palate: the flavours from the nose are translated well onto the palate, with the increase in intensity from the 43% ABV expression of Laphroaig 10 being quite obvious. The quality of the peat flavour is especially deep and profound here, and comes across more strongly on the palate than in the nose. Classic Laphroaig...deep and delicious

Finish: very long and strong finish, with all of the parts hanging around with good and strong flavour

Balance: it is odd that I had been drinking Laphroaig for years before I had had any of the 10 Cask Strength. This is a rich resonant whisky which is prototypical of the Laphroaig 'house style', of which I am a big fan. Whisky drinkers who "get" heavily peated Islays and who like the typical Laphroaig whiskies, enjoy a sort of balance between the peat/smoke/brine/medicinal flavours and the malty base flavours. With time and experience I came to love these whiskies. Some who are new to them will like them right away, and others will stand aside for a good long time, or forever

@tjb

This is a very powerful, Earthy and robust Whisky with a long finish. There is an explosion of smoke and peat mixed with a medicinal tang. It is also tinged with a slight bitterness which fades and is replaced by a more mellow smoky sweetness.

There is a seaweed and brine and undertone which is crisp but is followed by a smoother vanilla finish with a slight hint of apple and spices.

Did I mention that it is very smoky?

I would say that the ardbeg10 is a more complex and rewarding dram. It has more depth and has a citrus element which lightens without diminishing. The cask strength laphroaig is still a close 2nd but if I were only able to drink one I would choose the Ardbeg 10 as I think is is a more complete experience.

how would you compare this to the Ardbeg 10??

M

This review is based on the Batch 001. Typical Islay and Laphroaig upon pulling the cork. Peat, smoke, hint of brine and marine scents. The initial palate was sweet, with definite caramel and vanilla tones. This was followed by my favorite part of drinking an Islay - the peat and smoke blast. The aftertaste was licorice and anise, with a surprising bit of bitterness. I thought it was might be an aberration, but several drams over the next few days left that same aftertaste.

I've tried this several ways and without doubt this is best taken as a final dram after some milder or sherried speysiders or something sweeter not at CS. The contrast in taking this after say a Mortlach, Talisker 10 or 18 and say a Macallan Fine Oak 12 is remarkable but straight out of the bottle on it's own is hard to appreciate... in my experience.

@markjedi1

Let's do another head-to-head tasting with two Laphroaig 10 Year Old Cask Strength, one bottled in 2009, the other in 2010. Since February 2009, Laphroaig adorns it's labels with batch numbers. We are tasting batches 001 and 002 head to head. While they have the same color, the ABV is somewhat different. Batch 001 has an ABV of 57,8%, while batch 002 has an acoloholpercentage of 58;3%.

Batch 001 immediately submerges your nose in smoky ashes, only to reveal wonderfully fruity notes and caramel after a few moment. Batch 002 is somewhat softer and more fruity with vanilla and a hint of Italian coffee. I prefer the nose of batch 001.

Batch 001 starts of nicely sweet with citrus and licquorice on the palate, but soon salt and pepper take over. Quite a bit of peat, as one might expect from Laphroaig. Batch 002 is sweeter and less dry. Licquorice, coffee, vanilla and smoked ham with pepper. Great stuff. I prefer batch 002.

The finish on batch 001 is smoky, salty and lingering. Batch 002 is lingering also, but is more peppery and has a sweet undercurrent going for it. Both show medicinal traits.

While both drams are palatable without dilution, I find they are even better with a few - but only a few! - drops of water. Especially batch 002 profits from it. I found this one to be slightly better than its predecessor. I'm very much looking forward to batch 003, which shouldn't be long.

Batch 001: 87/100 Batch 002: 89/100

I have to agree that the 2 edged out the 3, but barely. Still a very good dram and (to me) much better than the regular 10. The QC is also a winner, especially at it's very reasonable price, making it the best value Laphroaig.

Have you tried batch 3 or 4. I'm almost out of batch 2, which was very good, and have a bottle of 3 unopened. Batch 4 is now in the store. Any input?

@WTC

This is the 2010 Batch 02, not sure if 2011 will bring a batch 03. Michelles says "Pulls no punches, a real Islay heavy weight. Full-on petrol, peat, oily, sweet, rich, deep and full. Kicks butt in the flavour and ABV departments."

Dominic's Notes

"Nose: Drier, with “tarred rope” phenol. Palate: Seaweedy. Both salty and sweet. Tar-like. Finish: Medicinal. Tar, phenol, peat, earth. A wonderfully complex whisky."

Tony says

"I've come to the end of the bottle of this, I've compared it to batch 001 and the old cask strength and drank it with five other Laphroaigs, and I'm still a bit confused and conflicted. On the one hand, I think its fabulous. Against the others it stood out, its got a clean, sharp taste that is very appealing. On the other, when I've been sat at home drinking whisky, I've really enjoyed the first dram but have not enjoyed the second ass much, and moved on to something else. There is a light, floral, sweet quality that sits strangely with the general laphroaig taste. However, this is probably just reflecting my unsophisticated palate, all in all, its great!"

@mattberg

After two bottles of the Quarter Cask over Christmas and the New Year I thought I would try the 10yo Cask Strength. A lot gentler than I expected with a honeyed-wood and smoky, sea-spray nose, really smooth and syrupy (surprisingly syrupy) on the tongue then a beautiful long and citrusy peppery development with burnt oranges and more pepper, peat, burnt-wood and long charcoal smoke to finish.

This is more like a 15 yo whisky and very, very different from the Quarter Cask, not as medicinal, in fact not at all medicinal to me, or as woody. Not sure if it really needs much more than a drop of water perhaps a touch just to ease the viscosity of the syrup.

A classy Islay malt.

@WhiskyNotes

Laphroaig 10 yo Cask Strength
(58,3%, OB 2010, batch #002)

Nose: fruitier than the 10yo CS Batch 001, right from the start, with berries and peach syrup. Also more notes of butter toffee and sweet vanilla latte. Still enough smoke to satisfy any Islay freak I guess. Earthy peat and some iodine as well.

Mouth: very deep smoke which keeps growing. Quite dry with a lot of smoked bacon. Roasted coffee. Sweet liquorice that fades to big peppery notes. Nicely developing. Again more vanilla and fruit.

Finish: long, smokey and medicinal – slowly drying out.

Even though the complexity is still not up to the standards of the old (no-batch) 10 year-old, I think the mixture of powerful smoke and added sweetness is still uniquely Laphroaig.

Hmm, I like the nose of batch 2 better than batch 1, but on the palate it’s the other way around. Peatheads may prefer batch #001, but for me #002 gets one extra point.

@rwbenjey

I had tried a few readily available Highland and Speyside malts before this one. The prompt to buy and try was sparked by overwhelming reviews I had read of this bottling, so even though I had never ventured to Islay world, I bought a bottle to further explore.

That evening, when I popped the cork, I thought I had quite possibly made a mistake as the huge peat smoke, iodine, etc. filled the air. As I recall, I just sat back and stared at the bottle, hesitant, for a minute or two. Then I thought, "Well, if it is truly awful, the reviews wouldn't be so high." I then proceeded to pour a small glass of this whisky and let it settle for a bit, nosing it every once in awhile, picking apart the smells.

Now it was time for the tasting. I picked up the glass and, slowly, let an appropriate amount enter my mouth and dance around my tongue. The result: "Wow. That's pretty...oh wowwww! That's really good!" This masterful stuff was bold, extremely flavorful, complex, rich, and commanded every ounce of my attention to savor it.

Even though this is an old review of my first Islay bottling, I can say this is still the best Islay I've had to date (others include various Ardbeg expressions, other Laphroaig expressions, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Bowmore, etc.). This is the king of all whisky.

A Few Thoughts:

I have heard of making the jump to Islay by way of any of the big three--Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Ardbeg--to be a highly probable tasting tragedy for the inexperienced (particularly this bottling!). However, I guess I was lucky that my taste buds were secretly looking forward to this kind of dram for a long time. So, if you are a person who likes rich food, dark beer, dry wine, etc, and are inexperienced with Islay whisky, just go for it, I don't think it will ruin you.

Cheers! Here's coming from another Laphroaig CS drinker!

@markjedi1

This one has a nice dark sheen and great legs. This is going to be good, I’m sure.

OMG, what a fantastic nose! After the truckload of alcohol, on a wave of peat, seaspray and some medicinal touches, the sweet citrus comes into play. Masterful. This makes a man’s knees go weak.

The taste is totally Islay. Peated, surely, but perfectly balanced with the sweet tones (I get passion fruit, amongst others). It’s perfectly drinkable without water, even at a rather challenging 55,7% ABV.

This Laphroaig distances itself from the classic 10 Year Old and 15 Year Old with ease. This Cask Strength expression has a Finish with capital F. Long, powerful, spicy, but perfectly balanced.

This is without a doubt a masterful monster that must not be missed (at a price of approx 50 EUR). After having this one, it’s official: I’m a Laphroaig fan!

Recently tried the CS and absolutely loved it. Being a noobie, was asked to stay away from Islay by most sites online, but I'm glad I trusted my guts and tried this one. Great review, definitely one I would concur with, among the many for the CS here !!! Glad to knw I'm not way off track ;) !!!

@markjedi1, that was great to see these popular expressions reviewed together at the same time. Now I'm awaiting for one more review of the 48% Quarter Cask :-)

@jwise

On the Nose: Peat. Saltiness. Medicinal. Brine. After the peat hits you like a ton of bricks, the other aromas start to make themselves known. Honestly, I have never been one to refer to whisky as 'medicinal', as it has such a negative connotation, but it fits here. In fact, I would go as far as to say I detect the smell of a bandaid that has just been removed from its sterile packaging. That's not the primary smell, as I stated, the peat is what hits you first and foremost.

On the Tongue: Don't be mistaken, this is NOT the 10yr, or even the Quarter Cask. This is the Cask STRENGTH. This bad boy packs a punch, and that punch is directed right at the mouth! The first sensation hits the mouth with spiciness, albeit mellowed. The peat shows up, along with the briny salty spray, but it is much more mellowed than what you might imagine.

The balance is pretty amazing. Its not salty like the Tobermory, or peaty like the Bowmore, nor is it spicy like the Isle of Jura. It all works together to create an incredibly robust, full-flavored whisky that reminds you exactly where it is made...ISLAY!

Finish: It is the finish where this whisky really shows up! The finish is long, and powerful, hitting you with peat, spice, and really stays with you for a while. In fact, I have woken up the next morning after drinking Laphroaig CS and been reminded of this fact! I'll say it again, "this whisky has a LONG finish!"

Yes, cask strength all the way! Everything else is, literally, watered down. That said, there are no doubt some relatively unbalanced whiskies which require dilution to lessen certain influences, such as too much wood aging. General rule with dilution, though: Less IS Less.

I am REALLY enjoying his whisky tonight with a piece of dark (72% cacao) chocolate! Wow, what a combination.

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