Laphroaig 1998 / 15yo – 60.8%
Colour: Deep gold with reddy hues.
Nose: Damp, musty, earthy dunnage oake, smoke whiffs, gentle trademark TCP whiffs. Slightly closed by the high ABV with a sweet winter fruity background that takes a second to pick out because of the peat, but is there in lashings once you’ve caught on to it. Slight ash notes, from the cask no doubt, almost like cigarette ash (but in a good way – coming from a non-smoker).
Palate: Lovely and full oiliness on the mouth which is at first amazingly smooth, but builds as you hold it on the tongue, it is a very high ABV after all. A really full earthy musty peat greats you just like it did on the nose but through the back of it all there’s the rich sherry fruitiness backing it up in perfect partnership, nicely picked. The ash is there as is… oh sod it, it’s good, ok? Enough said!
Finish: For a dram that is laden with sweet fruity sherry goodness and smoky TCP peat, there’s a real freshness to the finish. It’s long, warming and zingy, really quite a delight.
Water: Takes water well, you may as well, it makes it a touch smoother, and makes your investment go further. It makes it that little bit more lively on the nose and makes it just that wee bit sweeter. It maybe takes the earthy notes down a level which is possibly one slight drawback.
Thoughts: Gosh, if you like sherry and peat, then this really isn’t a dram to be missed, it’s a real cracker. Easily in the mid 90’s in score, another couple of years in the cask and maybe it’d be almost perfect. Slightly on the pricy side unfortunately.
Exclusively available from TWE for £99.95.
Thanks to my friend Ben Cops for the sample. A bottle high on my ‘To Buy’ list!