So we’ve actually done 4 different Laphroaig reviews. (The Select, Three Wood, An Cuan Mor, and 15 Year); however despite having bought this very whisky multiple times in the lounge – it recently came to our attention it hadn’t been properly reviewed. Time to solve that. Laphroaig’s 10 year is most notably for being a constant companion in the Buffalo Lounge, not a year goes by without it gracing the shelves for a few short months, and that alone is a true marker of quality more than the other transient spirits in the lounge.
The funny thing about this is that while the other Laphroaig’s are all good (and Select is better in some respects) this is almost a perfect scotch. Not perfect as in every score is a 10, and it’s the highest rated thing, but it’s perfect in the way a friend is. Sure there are faults, and yes you can find any random person better in a single aspect – you don’t care. Because while this is not the best whisky it is one of our favorites.
What they Say: (Bottle) “Laphroaig, pronounced “La-froyg”, is an all-malt Scotch whisky from the remote island of Islay in the Western Isles of Scotland. Laphroaig is a Gaelic word, and means “the beautiful hollow by the broad bay”. In the making of Laphroaig, malted barley is dried over a peat fire. The smoke from this peat, found only on the island of Islay, gives Laphroaig its particularly rich flavour. Laphroaig is best savoured neat, or with a little cool water.”
(Case) “Laphroaig (La-froyg) single malt Scotch whisky has always kept itself a bit remote, like the islanders of Islay themselves. A touch aloof at first, but make the effort, broach acquaintance, and you’ll have a warm and genuine friend for life.
Take it neat like a stalwart, or with a splash of soft water. Roll it around on your tongue. Release the pungent, earthy aroma of blue peat smoke, the sweet nuttiness of the barley, the delicate, heathery perfume of Islay’s streams. Close your eyes, and imagine the waves lapping Laphroaig, ”the beautiful hollow by the broad bay”
Taste: 7.0 – It starts off with some sweet and smoke with a small punch of flavor.
Aftertaste: 8.5 – Then the peat smoke kicks off like a 2nd stage rocket, coming in waves but never crashing over itself or punching you with flavor all at once. It lingers for a long time in the most delightful way.
Burn/Smooth: 7.0 – It’s an Islay so while it’s not smooth outright – it warms the cockles of your heart from top to bottom.
Aroma: 8.0 – So here’s the dilemma. While this is not the most complex smelling scotch, it is dead on. If you asked what scotch should smell like – not what it does, not the current average, but what a scotch is meant to smell like – this is it. It’s not perfection, but it is fantastic.
Honesty: 7.5 – There is a fine line between poetry and masturbation. This treads it, but it lands on the side of not wanky. Because while it does go on a bit, it does ask you to imagine or experience – it doesn’t come out calling itself a pinnacle or the best, or perfection. That and saying this is like a warm friend for life – the whiskey backs that up.
W/ Rocks: 6.5 – The problem here is while this certainly opens up the whiskey, and makes all the things they ask for with a bit of water (we always do a single cube) it comes more aggressively. It feels more like a peaty Islay, but at the same time it was better neat, more warming and comforting instead of power.
Value: 6.5 – This is the entry level of Laphroaig, and for most single malts of a good caliber this is on the lower end. However you get more than enough for what you pay for. While I will always choose Lagavulin in a contest outright – when it comes time to buy myself a scotch for a celebration I will look at my wallet and choose accordingly.
Google Shop Average: $51
Metric Score: 51/70 |+| Metric Average: 7.29 |+| Reviewer Average: 7.0
Final Thoughts: In short if you asked us an actual bar establishment could contain only 3 scotches. This, Lagavulin 16, and some blending scotch for mixed drinks I guess, and it’d be a good bar. I know it sounds sappy, but this is a whisky that is loved. Simple fact, but that means so much.