In 2021 Laphroaig released a Sherry Oak version of its classic 10 Year Old. The Islay single malt now receives a finish in European oak Oloroso sherry casks. Besides the sherry influence there is also a welcome upgrade to 48% ABV (applause). Sherry and peat can be a difficult marriage, so let’s find out.
Laphroaig 10 yo – Sherry Oak Finish (48%, OB +/- 2021, Oloroso sherry)
Nose: always surprising how sherry casks can make a smoky whisky even smokier. There’s the signature peat in a slightly warmer, more leathery version. Smoked bacon, bandaids, a lot of tarry notes, dark berry and plum sweetness, as well as tobacco leaves. Some Maggi and iodine, as well as a roasted meaty note. A subtle hint of burning rubber too.
Mouth: chocolate and wood spice appear first, followed by warm peat smoke and a slightly sharper hint of iodine and cedar wood. Cigars and charred meat. Then brine sets in, with a herbal touch as well as maple syrup and lots of ashy notes. Walnuts and black pepper too – overall this stays on the drier side.
Finish: medium long, slightly thinner now, with more ashes and brine balancing a meaty sweetness.
There’s a rather modern sherry influence to this, but it is well put together. While it lacks some of the more medicinal touches of the standard 10, the sherry highlights the warmer, tarry and ashy side. Clearly Laphroaig, with a perfect drinking strength. Those who think the standard 10 falls short a little in terms of richness or intensity should try this. Available from The Whisky Exchange or TyndrumWhisky among others.