This Laphroaig 1996 was bottled in July 2020 as part of the autumn outturn of the Single Malts of Scotland range. It has spent 24 years in an ex-bourbon cask. Expect plenty of body and distillery character. Islay whisky of this age doesn’t come cheap, so let’s find out whether it’s worth checking out.
Laphroaig 24 yo 1996 (51,8%, Single Malts of Scotland 2020, ex-Jack Daniels bourbon cask #1-104, 217 btl.)
Nose: a very medicinal start, despite the considerable age I would say. Plenty of antiseptics, iodine gauze and tarry ropes. Intense olive brine and kippery notes. Spearmint and tobacco leaves. There’s also a special sourness, in between sweet mustard and sour berries. Hints of linoleum. Echoes of slightly tropical fruits in the background, very light guava and a hint of vanilla that grows stronger over time. Complex and showing an impeccable balance.
Mouth: quite impressive again. It flirts with these tropical fruity notes (pink grapefruits) but they never fully persevere. Instead we get seawater, lemons, a good dose of black peppercorns and charred oak, still a hint of sweet mustard and bread crust. Salty peat and smoked tea.
Finish: very long, sooty and earthy, with autumn leaves, brine and pepper.
A rather perfect Laphroaig without too much make-up. A punchy Islay character mixed with fruity touches. Simply excellent, I love this one. Now available from The Whisky Exchange.