Whenever the family asks me what I want for either (a) Christmas, (b) my birthday, or (c) Father’s Day, there is a very good chance that I will say whisk(e)y. Although I occasionally get some moaning and groaning (“Whisky? Again?” is what they usually say), they eventually realize that I am extremely particular and know exactly what I want. Thankfully, I was given a bit of cash for Father’s Day, so to the liquor store I went!
Since I was visiting my Mamma and Papa in South Philly one night a couple weeks ago, I decided to stop by one of the newer Pennsylvania State Liquor Stores to see what they had in stock. Although they don’t always have a great selection, at least the pricing is consistent throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania (the only variable would be a sales tax levied by a municipality in addition to the usual state sales tax). I have seen the Laphroaig 18 at various liquor stores in New Jersey, but the wide pricing variability ($65 to $85 per bottle) has kept me from buying it, so when I saw that it was selling for $60 in Pennsylvania, I just had to pick it up. Here’s what Laphroaig has to say about their 18 year old expression:
“This 18 year old expression of Laphroaig is made in limited quantities each year and savoured by a fortunate few. A soft, sweet and spicy Islay peat smoke greets you when you first open the bottle. The immediate taste is an oak sweetness, from 18 years in the barrel. A faint hint of the sea can be detected, testimony to its time maturing on the remote island of Islay. Bottled at 48% ABV and non-chill filtered for a depth of taste and texture.”
And now for the review…
- Appearance: Light amber color. Long, thin, slow moving legs form after giving the glass a good swirl.
- Aroma: Light brown sugar. Toffee. Hints of smoke. Slight medicinal smell lurking in the background.
- Taste: Smooth and oily mouthfeel. That first sip showcases some light smokiness and hot cinnamon. The flavors linger on the tip and sides of your tongue. A black pepper kick starts at around mid-palate, leading you to a warm, long lasting, and spicy finish. There was a slight black licorice and anise aftertaste which I found to be very appealing.
Although this is only my second Laphroiag purchase (the Quarter Cask was my first), I consider myself a “Friend of Laphroiag“, and am proud to be an owner of my very own “Square Foot of Islay”. Sorry. I couldn’t resist throwing some of that Laphroiag marketing speak into this review. Silliness aside, I really enjoy this whisky! Eight more years in the barrel has smoothed out some of the Laphroaig 10’s rough edges, but it hasn’t domesticated it completely. After my initial analysis, I added a good slosh of water to see if it would mellow a bit further. It didn’t. The water softened it a bit, but all of the subtle smoke and spice still carried through. If you like a rich, flavorful, and complex whisky, then you must give this a try and tell us what you think.