There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Laphroaig’s profile, but sometimes I get the feeling that there’s some variation missing. I guess that’s part of the brand’s popularity and the fact that every independent bottler wants a piece of the cake and releases a few casks each year. This 1996 vintage is from a bourbon cask and part of the Malts of Scotland range.
Laphroaig 12yo 1996 (58,5%, Malts of Scotland 2009, cask #5382, 243 btl.)
Nose: very interesting. The usual seaweed, smoke and iodine but there’s something different about it. Vanilla and lemon. Quite some coal. Medicinal notes, but those are not uncommon of course. Some “garage” associations, you know the smell when you go into a car part store. Leaning towards linoleum, tar or plastics. Don’t get me wrong, I like it a lot. It freshens up with water, the citrus comes out as well as some floral notes. even slightly shampooish (in a good way). Subtly different.
Mouth: really really ashy. Apart from that, almost everything is there: sweet, sour, salt. More lemon. Big and quite hot. Fruitier and sweeter with water.
Finish: as it thins out, there’s mostly smoke and tar. Some pepper. Long aftertaste.
A classic Laphroaig, spiced up with some more complex or unusual flavours. Apart from the heavy smoke, great balance. Around € 60. Another Malts of Scotland release to recommend.