Thanks to /u/xile_ for bringing this bottle to the end of year tasting.
Laphroaig 32. The name says it all. You really don’t need to know too much more. I say to someone “Hey, you want a Laphroaig?” and they say “Sure”, if I say 32 years, they really don’t care the situation.
I could follow up saying it was in a cask that was used for crude oil and people would still want it. It’s old, cask strength, and from a distillery that tastes great at those times.
But this isn’t just me being offered a dram. No, it’s being reviewed. So let’s dive into it.
First up, why? Why does this exist? See Laphroaig just hit 200, and someone set up some casks 32 years ago to be ready for it. Thus in 2015 it was released, with just 5,880 bottles available. What I thought were 3 casks were used, however it had to be more. And sadly I can find that at least one of them was first-fill, however any other information I’ve found on Google hasn’t confirmed if all of them were, though some sites say all of them were.
I’ll let someone correct me on that.
So it’s three types of whiskies, older than most other Laphroaigs normally see, and sherried. Sounds like someone just put extra bacon on my burger for free, I’m in!
Let’s see how it tastes though.
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Cask Types: Three Oloroso sherry casks
Colour: 7.5YR 6/10
Nose: Caramel, toasted chestnut, coconut, lemongrasss, mango, farm
Wonderful balance on the nose. It’s an expert case on cask management, vatting, and overall understanding of the different flavours.
It’s not overly complex in the typical way, with mixture of flavours making something created or complex in and of itself (think a chocolate cake or the combination needed to create a woodshop). Rather it’s that insane complexity that comes from tons of flavours.
Taste: Strawberry jam on toast, pipe candy, rhubarb, blackberry BBQ, plum pudding, peanut
Now it starts getting more complex. It takes time and patience to really get going. Or perhaps it is my brain trying to figure out what it’s drinking.
Big rich, fruity notes. Lots of British desserts, tons of jam influence, and lots of spice here. Molasses is a common theme. The peat has left a spice/peanut mixture, and the Oloroso has taken on more of that richness I like.
Finish: Peppermint ice cream, smoked chocolate, charcoal, rocky road squares, dry brine, walking into a leather store
The finish is a masterclass on what an aftertaste should be. It’s sweet, it’s complex, it’s drying at times, and eventually it just beats the Devil out of you with leather.
In that “good Las Vegas” way between consenting adults who respect one another. Not in the horrible Fifty Shades of Grey way.
The earth, the spice, the smoke, and the chocolate all comes together perfectly. There’s the right amount of all of it. It’s not an easy dram to pick apart in any way.
Conclusion: A really, really well made dram. It’s really not easy to pick it apart at all. It’s so complex, it’s hard to start somewhere.
The nose has that confusing barrage of flavours that you rarely see unless care and cask strength whiskies are involved. The taste takes some time to prep itself up, and doesn’t quite match with the nose. I’m not saying it’s bad; I’m just saying that compared to the finish, or even some other tastes I’ve had, it could have been more complex at 32 years old.
And then that finish. So good. Really good. Honestly try this if you ever have a chance. It’s so good.
Scotch review #808, Islay review #191, Whisky Network review #1319