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?
(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.