Thanks to /u/Devoz for sharing a dram of this with me.
Second and last IB of the Laphroaig of my current series, “To Quaff a Laphroaig”. We all had Laphroaigs, we all had time, we opened them up, and then drank them. Not at once though, because that would be silly.
If you saw my last review, you’ll see I discussed a Laphroaig that was 18 years old from the independent bottler Douglas Laing in the Old Malt Cask series.
The last review was bottled 10 years ago, and this one was bottled 12 years ago. And before you ask, yes, the cork was super screwed, like a happy quarterback in Las Vegas after winning the Superbowl, assuming everyone is consenting adults, enjoying themselves, not coerced into anything, and it doesn’t lead to any issues for said quarterback.
But enough about the current state of the world when it comes to orgies: We’re reviewing Laphroaig 18 1987 Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask.
“But TOModera,” I hear you say, in my head, because I missed my medication, “You just did 2 other Laphroaig 18 year old whiskies. Why should this one be different?”
Well it’s a single cask, aged in a different time, not vatted like the OB 18, and aged in a refill ex-sherry butt versus the last one which was ex-bourbon.
So that’s why.
So let’s see how a few years off, a different type of cask, and perhaps different years have on the dram.
(Hint: it’s going to be a lot).
Price: No longer available
Distilled: December 1987
Bottled: November 2006
Cask Number: 3109
No of Bottles: 638
Cask Type: Refill ex-sherry butt
Colour: 10YR 5/8
Nose: Hazelnut, red Sambuca, pepperoni, chocolate chip cookies
Now we’re talking about a nose. If the last two were subtle, light ex-bourbon based, this is big red fruits, spices, and caliente meats. Eventually there’s some brown sugar and chocolate, which bodes quite well.
So far my favourite nose. Again, this is turning out nicely.
Taste: Nutella, tobacco, strawberry cream, cloves, mushroom broth
Starts out with some sweet notes, continuing with the chocolate and hazelnut from the nose. Then goes to more of the sherry influence, with lighter notes and spices.
Eventually water brings out some umami. In this case it’s gradual, and doesn’t come right after the strawberry. There’s also some tobacco, however it’s not overt. Sadly I can’t really say what type of tobacco. Perhaps a slightly lighter flavour, with a little bit of earth to it? If that’s a type, please let me know, I don’t really like smoking however some have mentioned I should get better at identifying tobacco if I’m going to include it.
Also I don’t really want to hurt my lungs doing that.
Finish: Strawberry, macadamia nuts, lots of brine, edamame
Finish goes to a lighter sherry influence at first. Think more of Oloroso finish than full maturation. Then it becomes really salty, and then there’s a ton of umami.
Yes, I get that people go out of their way to enjoy Umami. I’m not saying that entire groups of people are incorrect. However in this case it’s hammering the idea home.
Conclusion: Too much umami at the end of the day. I was really enjoying this dram, with a great nose, a nice taste, and even some surprises on the finish. However as time went on, there was umami and more umami.
Beef broth, chicken, mushrooms, and even soya sauce based marinades are all things I really do enjoy. However I feel they are balanced compared to here. In a previous review I had spoken of a “too strong black tea” influence. This is similar, though with less tannins.
So if you have to choose between these two, I still say this one, however it’s not perfect.
Scotch review #818, Islay review #198, Whisky Network review #1329