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I had heard good things about this bottling, which is apparently around 8 years old to keep in the youthful phenolic peatiness while using smaller quarter casks to increase wood interaction and give more complexity. Let's see...
Nose – Phenolic, smoky, bonfire smoke and ash, brine, salty and mineralic, smoked kippers, lots of TCP, hint of leather, oak charcoal, later sweet and creamy with vanilla, sharp citrus lemon, green apple, some raisins and a hint of pineapple and coconut.
Palate – Initially sharp, sour, fruity arrival on the tip of the tongue, lemon juice, crisp green apples, apple sauce, sultanas and caramelised brown sugar. Then develops into intense mid-palate peat, dry and phenolic, lots of minerals, TCP, very salty, smoked kippers, and later drying pepper, vanilla and cinnamon. A fresh and drying mouth-feel. Finish – Drying wood smoke and ashes, cinnamon spice, a touch of liquorice root, more dry peat and pepper builds in the centre of tongue, with a possible hint of walnuts and a long bitter oaky finish.
The peat in the Laphroaig is certainly more ashy and medicinal than some of the Islay malts, even astringent, which I have also noticed in the 10 year old I have tried. Comparatively this has a lot more contrasting sweet and sour fruits to complement the peat, which along with the extra strength and the unchillfiltered-ness improves it significantly in my opinion. A very enjoyable dram, if possibly over hyped.