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Picked this one up at Schiphol airport on my way to the wild city of Naples, Italy. I wrongly had low hopes to find a decent shop over there so I felt I had to visit the duty free area. This travel retail exclusive Laphroaig luckily was available at a 25% discount:) €70,- for a liter sounded great to me so I grabbed it immediately.
Nose: a wall of thick wet medicinal smoke, burning resin and enormous oak greet you at first, but with a bit of water and a few minutes I also get forest earth, sea breeze, winter spices(laurel, cloves), blackcurrants, strawberries and very buttery vanilla custard cake. This is a gargantuan and luscious nose. Unmistakably Laphroaig, but with added fruity and spicy notes.
Palate: It starts mellow and sweet, but soon builds up into an eruption of flavors arleady mentioned in the nose towards a drier finale. Dont be mistaken, its very peaty, but there is much more to discover behind the smoke curtains. Like those deliscious smoked hams, moccha coffee and fresh herbal notes. It all comes in a nice oily texture with rounded flavors in a big and full body. Great decicion to bottle it at 48% Its quite wild and stormy too, it keeps delivering different flavors but it also manages to stay pretty balanced. If you're familiar with Laphroaig, you can easily detect which flavors belong to which cask. And its sweet, but not overly. Less than expected for sure, which was a big relief.
Finish. Its endless... even after 20 minutes the flavors still dwell. big peat smoke, dry oak, roasted nuts and also a lot of the red fruit notes linger on.
Wow one of the best Laphroaig expressions I had so far. The fresh PX casks really deliver and give the already strong Laphroaig core profile a brilliant addition. Ofcourse its not as complex as the 18yr old, but the flavors are big and tasty. It shurely beats the crap out of some other expressions of late. Happy hunting!