Single malt whisky - tasting notes

01 Nov 2013

Laphroaig 1976

Posted by: Ruben Luyten In: Laphroaig

Together with the 1977, this is one of the earliest vintages bottled by Laphroaig. These casks were bought back from private owners. Based on the L6 bottling code, this was bottled in 1996, slightly below 20 years old. It was meant as a travel retail expression.

1976 was a particularly hot summer – the back label of this bottle mentions this. Could this be one of the reasons this vintage delivered so many wonderful drams from different distilleries?


Laphroaig 1976Laphroaig 1976
(43%, OB 1996, 5.400 btl.)

Nose: starts in a coastal way, with kelp and harbour ropes. A little heather. Over time menthol appears and just a hint of antiseptic. Mild for Laphroaig, there are peaty and smoky hints but quite subdued. The most wonderful thing about this nose, however, is the appearance of tropical fruits. Pink grapefruit à la BenRiach 1976, some passion fruits and kumquats. Mouth: the old-style Islay profile, with ashes and soot rather than plain peat. Also lots of sweetness and tiny fruity sourness. Pink grapefruit again, passion fruits, maybe unripe mango. Pears. Some woody / herbal undertones come forward towards the end. Hints of heather honey. Finish: long, again a softly bitter herbalness but the fruity sweetness and soot are stronger.

Like most Islay drams from the 1970’s, this is a true delight. This used to be sold for around € 50 – now easily € 1000.

Score: 93/100

Laphroaig 1976 5 Ruben Luyten 2013-11-01
  • Rob77


    Great review, as always. Your tasting notes allude to this being bourbon casked. Do you think this is true, and given the fact that you have tasted older expressions, does Laphroaig do better in bourbon and or sherry casks?

  • WhiskyNotes

    Thanks. For me Laphroaig is one of these distilleries that are equally good in bourbon as they are in sherry casks. It’s all about mood and preferences?

  • Dave

    I don’t understand the relevance of a hot summer on1976 vintage whisky. Didn’t most distilleries shut down during the summer months in the 1970s?

  • WhiskyNotes

    Even when they shut down, the casks are still there in hot temperatures. This may have an effect on the maturation of casks that had been filled right before the summer. In any case it is striking how several distilleries have produced slightly different (I’d say better) whisky that year.

  • Ricardo

    I personally like a bit of sherry in my Islays but not overpowering.



December 2014
« Nov    

  • Dirk V.: I think Inge L. does a fantastic job with her whisky flavoured chocolates ;-)
  • SK: And just to prove a point, all of the bottles are still available in places where they usually run out. Lets see how many will be still available whe
  • SK: 2 years ago I tried the Caol Ila 1982 from Archives. What a fantastic whisky. Since then I always try to stock these Caol Ila from the 80s. Sadly no

Coming up

  • Octomore 6.3 258ppm
  • Peated Irish 1991 (Eiling Lim)
  • Ardbeg 1974 for Christmas
  • Spirit of Freedom 30 Years
  • Arran #3 (TBWC)
  • Auchentoshan 1990 (Archives)
  • Ben Nevis 1996 (Whisky Mercenary)
  • Elements of Islay Cl7
  • Benromach 5 Year Old

1682 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.