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November 18, 2020 (edited December 18, 2020)
3.25 out of 5 stars
A bit surprised I hadn't put this one out yet but happy mistake I was drinking it and just checked. Also a happy note that this bottle opened up nicely after being a bit off on the neck and even a few pours past that. Yes, I got this for 53 bucks thanks to what had to have been an error in the system here in ohio, but hey it's nice to get a win in a state that has been handing out L's left and right the last year plus on the scotch side.
Nose - So I'm stealing from @robertmaxrees on a couple notes here. So the word phenol is often one I leave out of reviews so lets just say this, this defines it. There's alll the seaweed brine and smokey ash as you can hope for. Iodine and all that laphoriag goodness. What's interesting are bell peppers (shout out), brown sugar, vanilla but more of an extract, and even some green apple.
Taste - Again same classic Laphroaig peat notes as above. I still get that bell pepper which I now am going to be looking for in whiskies as wow that is just right out in front and in your face. The sweetness is however not say like a quarter cask coming in heavy vanilla but fruity at least for a Laphroaig, apple and lemon with even a hint of orange peel. The finish is all spices, and I mean there's so many. I've found I tend to pickup on cardamon a lot and i am getting it with maybe cinnamon and perhaps nutmeg, but there's far more going on in that realm.
The overall profile here is of young, spicy, hot, and assertive whisky done in as complex and aggressively as you could hope for. I am sure I've had better 10 CS's from these guys. I am however not sure I've had such a bold and assertive version of any whisky that maintained this level of complexity and nuance. Sure a bookers is big and bold, but it's boring and basic as hell. This isn't that. Oh wait I left off winter green above. I'm just now tasting it on my gums and it's been in the nose and taste. Sorry back to the story (this one stays with you). This bold spicy and insanely intense experience doesn't get throw out with water, sure it lets you pickup on a bit less bite but there is still real complexity in this whisky. Sure you start to notice more that it's young and not overly well done on the oak and you see the flaws coming out on the finish. Yeah water takes away from our geeky love of CS whisky if you really take it down to a review level abv.
Overall a fine pour that at this price I wish I'd driven all over the state to find more. Sadly the first pour felt too youthful and shall we way "green" (perhaps that bell pepper?). But with time opening up it's a fine whisky and worth of a very high 3.25 scores from me.
October 23, 2020 (edited December 18, 2020)
4.5 out of 5 stars
Neat. Neck pour. This has been on my to-buy list for a long time. Found it for $53 at Jungle Jim’s. Crazy price right? Had to pull the trigger.
The nose on this is intense. The peat is actually making me hungry for some burnt ends. Once I acclimate to the peat though, this is so sweet. Short bread, coconut, and pineapple. Tons of salt and pepper. Like putting my nose into salt and pepper shakers. This may sound strange but there is a metallic silver there with it which triggered a memory of my grandparents salt and pepper shakers. That’s a deep cut of a memory. Vanilla extract. Man, this is delightful. I went into this thinking the peat would be overwhelming but instead the extra proof bumped up everything else instead. That’s awesome.
Mouth feel is velvety and perfect. Wow, that is a ton of flavor all at once. Going to take a bit to tease this out... Yeah, intense. On the tongue, getting beyond the peat again I am finding that coconut, pineapple and vanilla extract. So sweet. Transitions into such a nice campfire smoke. Campfire doesn’t do it justice. More like a burnt cedar blank. On the grill with some pineapple marinated meat. The salt and pepper then hang on finish. A solid minute after my last sip, still getting all the flavors described above. None of them subsided or transitioned though on the legs. Everything described above is just hanging out for the duration.
So intense. So so intense. I love it. My wife is going to come home 5 hours from now and I am sure these flavors are still going to be all over me. It doesn’t help that I dribbled a bit on my beard... If you saw my face it probably looks like I am in pain. Every time I sip my eyes squint and my lips pucker. It’s is so so good though.
Nose: Brine, iodine, seaweed, smoke, earth - definitely phenolic. Peer through that, and there's definitely some vanilla and brown sugar, along with some oak. Bitter lemon peel. Wintergreen. Some slightly vegetal, "green" notes like green bell pepper. Toasted black pepper, cardamom. Camphor. Licorice. This is definitely Laphroaig but all the knobs are turned up. As I let it sit in the glass and come to temp and I acclimate to it, I can tease out a little banana-style fruit behind everything else. Also getting hit with lemon pepper vibes, which if you've ever had the pre-made stuff you know it doesn't simply taste like just lemon and pepper. There's a funk buried in there as well, like when you dig a really deep hole at the beach, but also when the tide is super low and you hang out in the tide pools that are left behind. Fresh cut grass quality, as well. Even though this is 60%, it's not slapping me around like I'd normally expect.
Palate: Brine, vanilla, brown sugar. Iodine, seaweed. Smoke, earth, phenol. Oak. Black pepper, nutmeg, anise, cinnamon. Camphor, thyme, basil. Ashy throughout. Mint, chocolate. Lightly aromatic pipe tobacco. Sweet orange, bitter lemon. Where regular Laphroaig 10 parses as sweet and pretty and friendly, this is coming across rich and dense, and though it's "darker", it's not "dark". There's some dusty leather/dusty book going on. Again, this is definitely Laphroaig turned up. Ripe fruits. Oil content is high, so each sip adds more and more to the party. Warm apple pie, rosted bell peppers, and the effervescence of the alcohol. This is relatively evenly balanced between upper, middle, and lower palate. Mouthfeel is medium.
Finish: The ethanol has been present throughout, but on sip you get this bright peppery flash. That presents next to mint, citrus oils, cocoa, and sweet basil. Earthy, ashy, phenolic notes are also way out in front. Rich chocolate and cream with chipotle powder and smoke paprika, like the finest mexican hot chocolate you can imagine. The brine and iodine come up next, along with more mint and fruit. Think strawberry shortcake topped with macerated strawberries, a dollop of whipped cream, and garnished with a sprig of mint. We're left with this beautiful mix of sweet pipe tobacco, chocolate, leather, brine, barrel, vanilla, and brown sugar. Oil content here is fantastic, lending to a long finish.
Other notes: When I saw this on the shelf, I got excited. I tempered my expectations to not get too disappointed, but this is excellent. It's what you want it to be - big, bold, concentrated cigar smoking mermaid bathwater. I tend to prefer the output of Ardbeg, with Laphroaig bringing up a distant second, but this approaches the darker, denser characteristics I like. And because of the proof and oil content, playing with adding water and the like will reveal some other flavors and give you plenty to explore. I like this. A lot. Easily my favorite Laphroaig expression thus far.
September 24, 2020 (edited December 30, 2023)
4.25 out of 5 stars
Peated, smokey, sweat and full of complex flavor. It opens up quite nicely with a small bit of water or ice. The flavor punches above its weight for MSRP. Laphroaig 10 is a great scotch but Laphroaig 10 cask strength this is the value scotch to beat.