Review: Laphroaig 10 Year Old Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

10 Years
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Laphroaig (Port Ellen, Scotland)

I love most things that Laphroaig does, and this is no exception - a cask strength version of their terrific 10 year old. This is somewhat hard to find, but well worth buying, if you can find it.

Review (2016)

  • Batch: 007

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2015

On the box, they recommend to drink this diluted 2:1 with water (~19% ABV). At this strength, the nose is certainly impressive – mineral characteristics, hay, a touch of a floral character (elderflower), salt stone, burning leaves, smoke, earth and roots, orange peel, mixed roasted nuts, and iodine – the elderflower is just terrific, and bridges between the earthy and smoke flavours while also brightening up the entire nose. On the palate, lots of smoke, dried seaweed, and cucumber. Terrific finish with building smoke. However, not the strength I’d drink it at – though fun for the sake of nosing.

At 43%, compared to the standard 10 year old, not quite as dark in colour and a bit hazy (good on it!) – more marine, and more farmy – and the mineral character is quite sharp as well – actually sharper and more clearly cut. A bit sweeter, too, and the spices are bigger with a bit more tannin – even at this diluted level. Finishes with some brilliant ash and spice. Even at 43%, better than the terrific standard 10- year old.

Finally, cask strength: the nose, of course, is concentrated with alcohol being heavy yet concentrating the floral elderflower, smoke, and vanilla – I notice the oak here in a way I didn’t at either of the lower strengths. Everything else is there, still, at this strength – a beauty. The palate has terrific feel and body, with a moving, powerful, dry peat and tingling spices. Spicy cigar spices on the finish, eventually fading to vanilla and oak.

Not as good, in my memory, as batch 5 – but I don’t have a side by side comparison to investigate properly. Still, a wow whisky.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Very High, at $76.