Thanks to /u/WDMC-905 for this sample.
So you read a name like First Edition and think “Holy Damn! A First Edition! What does that mean?”
And maybe you think it’s like books. This is the first time it’s made. The first printing.
One problem: Whisky isn’t printed.
Maybe that’s not a problem.
Okay, so Laphroaig 19 1996 First Edition not juice from the first time Laphroaig was made. That would cost me an arm and a leg and someone else’s kids.
Alright, so what is it? Well it’s a sub-brand of an IB, which should usually be the way you think about things. Marketing is everywhere people. Nothing is true, all is permitted.
Alright, so Edition Spirits makes First Edition. They started in the light, happy days of 2010. They aim for quality on a regular basis.
According to what I’ve read, they taste each single cask monthly, aiming for a whisky that’s “just right” rather than a rounded number. The First Edition series takes that a step further, ensuring it’s cask strength, and with no colouring or chill filtration.
Sounds like a quality IB company. And this is an old ass Laphoaig. What’s not to love?
Anthrax. That’s what not to love. It’ll poison you.
Let’s see how this non-Anthrax sample tastes, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Cask Type: Refill hogshead
Cask Number: 11784
Vintage: 1996 – 2015
Outrun: 188 bottles
Colour: 7.5Y 8/8
Nose: Red licorice, peach cobbler, honey, smoked caramel, sea air
Big blast of Twizzlers on the nose. Takes awhile to get past it, and I caught myself second guessing when I wrote “anise” or strawberry.
Lots of interesting notes here. Less smoke, as expected for an older Islay. Good amount of light salt.
Taste: Brine, black pepper, anise, herbal, raisins, cocoa
More salt than I’d like here. Goes from high complexity to less, but still nice. Love the amount of anise.
Granted I was that kid who ate black jujubes, so YYMV, and other initialisms.
Finish: Salted caramel, dates, coffee, gingersnaps, raisins, menthol, cigars
Lovely finish. My wife was a big fan. Granted she loves cigars. Make your own jokes there, I’m still waking up.
More complex than the taste.
Conclusion: So this is one of those whiskies that could have easily been “ZOMG WOW” if not for a faulty middle.
The taste is the only sad part about this one, and it’s only sad because the other two parts are great and Michael Phelps exists.
I mean, wait, what?
Oh, see, there’s some amazing whiskies out there that are 3/3 on the taste, nose, finish scale. And this one is only 2/3, so I compare it to others.
That said, I really liked this one, and as long as you go into it knowing the taste is “just Laphroaig” (which most people just got hard when they read that), you’ll be fine.
Scotch review #473, Islay review #100, Whisky Network review #776