Laphroaig Lp11 vs Lp12 (Elements of Islay)

Laphroaig Lp11 vs Lp12 (Elements of Islay)

Two new Elements of Islay bottlings have just appeared at The Whisky Exchange. One is the Lagavulin Lg11, the other the Laphroaig Lp12. I thought it was a good idea to try it alongside the previous Lp11 release, although their composition doesn’t really match.

Lp11 was distilled in 2015 and matured for over 15 years in two ex-bourbon barrels. Lp12 on the other hand is much younger (6 years) and seems to mix in a few sherry casks.


Laphroaig Lp11 15 yo 2005 (52,2%, Elements of Islay 2020, 2 ex-bourbon barrels, 496 btl.)

Nose: cigarette smoke, barbecued meat and plenty of coastal notes like tarry ropes and wet beach sand. Hints of menthol. Then a warmer and rounder side folds open, with vaguely waxy notes and sweet hints of vanilla biscuits and molasses. Medicinal notes, wet chalk and carbolic soap as well. Pretty perfect.

Mouth: a big coastal arrival, with iodine and brine evolving into herbal notes and fresh lemony notes. A bit sharper and straightforward than I expected from the nose. Hints of green olive brine and bonfires on the beach. Grapefruit. Clean smoke and green, vegetal notes underneath.

Finish: long, still very clean, smoky and briny with lots of grassy and medicinal notes.

A really good one, although the taste doesn’t quite match the complexity and all-round balance of the nose. Sold out at The Whisky Exchange but still available from partners like La Maison du Whisky for instance.


Laphroaig Lp12 6 yo 2014 (54,7%, Elements of Islay 2021, 2 refill barrels + 2 sherry hogsheads, 1672 btl.)

Laphroaig Lp12 - Elements of IslayNose: clearly less mature and refined. More on grassy notes, metallic hints and burnt leaves, with a big minty side and more iodine. Grapefruit. Smoked oyster. There’s some sweetness as well, but more on toffee and citrus sourness.

Mouth: clean and sharp, with a big dose of mezcal in the mix, or so it seems. A lot of bacon smoke, seawater and TCP with hints of new plastics. Then youngish grapefruits and lemons with a light honeyed edge. White pepper and light hints of mustard as well.

Finish: long, very ashy, on drying tobacco leaves, with a slightly sour side and oak spice.

Very straightforward, I would have given this a few extra years but I understand the series is also about showing different styles from these distilleries, in different price categories. Now available from The Whisky Exchange.
Score: 82/100