By far the most widespread Islay malt. You’re hard-pressed these days to go into a supermarket in the UK that doesn’t have the Laphroaig 10 in the Single Malt section of the spirits aisle.
This tends to be the Marmite of whiskies as well – known for its strong smoke and medicinal iodine flavour. When people think of peated whisky, I’d say Laphroaig is the one the majority of the general public would point to.
Laphroaig’s marketing department are well aware of this, hence their popular “Opinions Welcome” marketing campaign on YouTube.
So with all that to consider, what will an additional eight years in the cask do to the overall character of the whisky?
Nose: Very fruity and floral! Starts with ripe pear, cherry blossom, fruit pastilles, and beeswax. Beneath the bright fruity notes, I get a whiff of a fragrant peat bog, cedar wood and a soft, maritime breeze.
Palate: Cherry jam, barley fields, plums, dates, honeydew melon with a rising waft of peat smoke at the end.
Finish: Warm peat, black pepper, and a little bit of Earl Grey.
This is intensely fragrant and fruity. If Laphroaig usually conjures up images of fireplaces in Winter storms, this dram is one of those fleeting Summer days on Islay where the flowers are out and the breeze is warm and sweet.
That extra time in cask has let the phenols of the peated barley calm down and the oak has imparted a lot more sweet, fruity influence. The result is a lighter, sweeter whisky with a lot more going on than peat.
Available in limited quantities each year, you can find this online at all good whisky retailers. Master of Malt have samples at £6.21 and bottles at £73.96.