Laphroaig

Review: Laphroaig 10 Year Old Sherry Oak Finish Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
48%
Aging
10 yrs; Ex-bourbon barrels and Oloroso casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Laphroaig (Port Ellen, Scotland)

This isn’t too far of a cry from the old Laphroaig Triple Wood, which I guess is gone now - we are on to four wood (really?…), the 10 year, quarter cask, and this one. But, 10 years, sherry finish, 48% - I’m interested, even if sherry and peat can be perilous…


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L1 026 SBI 2034 15:50

  • Bottling Date: ~2021

·         Bottling Date: ~2020

Without even comparing to other bottlings or rating – that nose on Laphroaig is so great. It’s been too long…

Charred chickpeas, smoke, wet earth, baking spice, vanilla, smoked almonds, and some classic, interesting medicinal notes – bandaids and iodine. It isn’t as vibrant or “together” as the best Laphroaig noses. There are some dense bready notes here too – interesting, reminding me of dense pumperknickel. The palate is richly earthy and spicy, if not a bit thin. There is a big backbone of dried fruit, and the tannins are perfect. Peppery. Nice. The finish is really earthy, and the nutty/fruity character of the sherry opposes the peat in a way that is interesting – not necessarily opposing but also not necessarily complementing.

It doesn’t have the punch or elegance (dare I say it?) of quarter cask, nor the delicate balance between cask and spirit, but there is more going on here. Fruity, with a more clean and narrow portrayal of peat smoke. Delicious stuff.

Highly Recommended (50% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, at $100.


Review: Laphroaig Cairdeas Pedro Ximinez Casks by Jason Hambrey

ABV
58.9%
Aging
Pedro Ximinez Finish
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Laphroaig (Port Ellen, Scotland)

This whisky went through three casks - first fill American ex-bourbon barrels, American ex-bourbon quarter casks, before being finished in European oak hogsheads which contained pedro ximinez (PX) sherry.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: Pedro Ximinez Casks

  • Bottling Code: L102D SBD 2022 15:26

  • Bottling Date: 2021

It’s strong, but not as smoky as I wish. The PX certainly adds sweetness and stone fruit – peach, apricot, and canned peaches and apricot – in surprising strength given how much flavour is in your base Laphroaig. Vanilla, caramel, and some other confectionary notes – and toasted barley notes. A nice kick of bourbon cask notes! Those creamy, oaky, dried stone fruit notes. On the nose, it’s younger or less developed than your standard laphroaigs. The palate is smoky, and quite sweet and fruity. It’s slightly sour. The vegetal smoke is in every corner here, but there is sweet fruit, almost syrupy, finding its way into the corners as well. The finish is smoky, sweet, and fruity (hmm…does that help anyone? The finish has some intriguing floral notes of lavender, combined with clove and a touch of nutmeg, wet earth, earthy smoke – like burning wet wood, candied orange, hazlenuts, and cinnamon. The smoke and nuttiness are at the core of the finish – everything else is at the edges. Lots going on.)

Highly Recommended (50% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: I’m not sure I’d ever turn up my nose at a cask strength laphroaig at $120.


Review: Laphroaig 1995 Vintage Cask Strength (Signatory) by Jason Hambrey

ABV
58.1%
Aging
16 Yrs; Ex-Bourbon
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Laphroaig (Port Ellen, Scotland)

I don’t see many independent bottlings of Laphroaig – but I don’t have access to many independent bottlings at all, so this is rather interesting. I do love Laphroaig - but I like the richness that comes at younger ages of Laphroaig. So we shall see:


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A (58.1%)

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2011

The nose is soapy, with charred chickpeas, dried apple, blueberry, smoked dried fish, and lots of cinnamon. It is rich and earthy. The palate is sweet, rich, and very peaty. Quite elegant for a Laphroaig – it isn’t the smokiest, but the earthiness is there, through and through. It is quite sweet. A terrific finish – spicy, rich, and deep, with a nice integration of dried betties and loads of chocolate.

One of the more floral Laphroaigs that I’ve tasted, and it’s very good.

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

Value: N/A


Review: Shelter Point The Collective Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Shelter Point The Collective 1.jpg
ABV
46%
Aging
5-8 years; Refill, ex-wine, and ex-laphroaig
Recipe
A blend of barley and wheat whiskies
Distiller Shelter Point (Vancouver Island, British Columbia)

This whisky was created to honour five shelter point staff, who each selected a cask (yielding about 1000 total bottles). Unchillfiltered and natural colour. The casks were a mix of 5-6 year old whiskies. What a mix:

  • wheat whisky, ex-bourbon cask

  • single malt, ex-bourbon cask

  • single malt, ex-bourbon then finished for 2 years in virgin oak casks

  • single malt, ex-bourbon then finished in ex-Laphroaig casks for 18 months

  • unmalted barley whisky, ex-bourbon then finished in ex-Laphroaig casks for 18 months

With that mix, I have no idea what that will taste like. Let’s see.


Review (2020)

  • Batch: Edition #1

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2020

Very green, spicy, oily – all sorts of notes. Blackberries, blueberry yoghurt, honey, almonds, granola, baking bread, teff, salted caramel, apple oatmeal, oak, mint, and a touch of smoke. What a nose! The taste builds in lots more smoke, more honey, and has a smooth and integrated character. Texture is great, and the way that the wheat plays off the malt is terrific. The finish is fascinating, with everything from smoke, ocean turf, and alpine streams (the fresh, mineral character). A new direction for shelter point whiskies, for sure!

Fascinating! What a variation on the classic Shelter Point. It’s amazing how well the wine cask plays with the peat, wheat, and heavier oak character. Excellent, unique, interesting. Those staff can pick out some casks again!

One of my favourite shelter points ever, I think. 46% is perfect for it, too.

Very Highly Recommended (19% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Very high at $74.


Review: Shelter Point Single Cask Peat Finish by Jason Hambrey

Shelter Point Peat Finish.jpg
ABV
58.5%
Aging
5 years ex-bourbon; finished in ex-laphroaig quarter casks for 18 months
Recipe
100% Single Malt
Distiller Shelter Point (Vancouver Island, British Columbia)

This whisky is finished in ex-laphroaig cask. The now-very-popular release of “Smoke Point” is a 50% version - this is a single barrel, at cask strength. The influence from the laphroaig casks is, well, amazing and unsurprising.

The fourth official single cask from Shelter Point.


Review (2020)

  • Batch: Edition #4

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2020

The nose has pear, loads of minerality, and it’s quite spicy and oily. It has a nice grainy and tannic edge to it – even on the nose. Nice rich medicinal, earthy notes – with not a whole lot to contrast but some pear, peach, and clove that really create tension. Oh, and yes – smoke on the nose. The palate has pear, wet earth, dried apricot, caramel, pumpernickel (I know!), vanilla, and dark cacao. As with laphroaig, the heaviness of the spirit is balanced just perfectly with some sweet vanilla. Oddly, for what I find is a suppressed nose the palate just shines. Just delicious. The finish has a decent bit of oak, smoke, earth, canned apricot, and almond. And more.

This works really well with added water as well.

Given how good Smoke Point batch 2 was, I actually didn’t think they could do better. Wrong! My favourite of the three.

Very Highly Recommended (19% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High at $85.