It came to our attention that a bunch of us own Laphroaig bottles. So we decided to have a tasting, and thus I ended up with a new, impromptu series I’m calling “To Quaff a Laphroaig”, because I can’t figure out a pun.
So to start up the tasting, we began with Laphroaig Lore. This new NAS offering was made up of first fill Sherry butts and quarter casks, as well as their “most previous stock”.
This raises some questions about NAS. The arguments have flown back and forth. Now that we’re well into the NAS changes to Scotch, and I’m of two minds on this.
First off, from those of use who have had older whiskies, you run into the dirty secret that we never talk about: Just because a whisky is old, doesn’t mean it’s automatically amazing. So the idea that the greater the age statement, the better the whisky isn’t true. Thus taking the age statement out doesn’t automatically mean it’s a bad or good whisky. If it’s younger, and that’s being snuck in, it’s not automatically bad.
That said, I think more information is better than less. So that’s where NAS whiskies bug me. Throw the age statement on there. Give people more information, not less. Teach people that whisky is an art, a constant checking in on the casks used, a selection of vatting, and overall a combination of understanding of the science involved. So when they see “10 years old” they don’t automatically think “less good then 16 years old”.
Granted somehow I have faith in people’s overall desire to learn. Perhaps the market just can’t handle it, and people need to judge based on age to buy whisky, otherwise they are generally confused.
Then again, perhaps they should read more reviews (such as on my website).
So I’m pretty neutral on NAS. Let’s see how Laphroaig Lore does with this whole debate, shall we?
Cask Types Used: First fill sherry, reused peated, and quarter casks
Colour: 5Y 8/8
Nose: Smoke, burnt rubber, sand, brown sugar, smoked meat, herbal
Initial nose is a tad light, though given some time opens up with more smoke and burnt rubber. There’s some iodine elements, some earth, and some herbal.
It’s nice to nose, though needs the extra time. I can see why this was bottled at a higher abv.
Taste: Brown sugar, lime, light peat, orange
Taste is, again, a tad light. I can see what they were trying to do, as that citrus element and brown sugar mixes nicely with the peat.
However if you are looking for a bombastic, Mr. Fantastic, totally turn you into a Spastic (no offence to anyone who may resemble the original horrible meaning of that last word, I needed a rhyme) Laphroaig, then it’s not going to do that for you.
Finish: Salty, earthy, macadamia, wood, caramel
Short finish. Falls apart at the finish. If the taste was holding it up with a light, if peated dram and some nice citrus, the finish is super short, full of nuts and wood (teehee), and not doing what it needs to there.
Conclusion: An interesting dram that is probably enjoyed by people who focus more on the nose than other aspects. Honestly if that describes you, then this is great. It has that well put-together nose that usually requires a crafty hand and lots of vatting.
That said, I am not that person. So for me, the nose wins, the taste is pleasant, and then the finish falls out. Given another Laphroaig I had (look for it in a future time far off from now), this can happen with Laphroaig. I’m guessing that after mixing some of the most precious stock, they found a dram that tasted great at cask strength, but didn’t make money. So we ended up with this.
So it’s another NAS that will boost the idea for some, and not for others. The debate rages on.
Scotch review #815, Islay review #195, Whisky Network review #1326