Laphroaig Live has a lot to celebrate this year. Apart from the anticipated showcase of new expressions they are also celebrating their 200th. birthday.
Apart from that, the event also featured an appearance by ‘Highlander’ actor Sam Heughan who, if Twitter is to be believed, proved to be very popular indeed!
The drams sampled for this years event were:-
- Laphroaig 15 Year Old
- Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015
- Laphroaig 21 Year Old
- Laphroaig 32 Year Old
Sampling the whiskies was amongst others, John Campbell – Laphroaig’s distillery manager, Emma Andersson – Editor of one of the world’s most respected whisky magazines Allt Om Whisky and Bernhard Schafer – whisky journalist and Master Of The Quiach.
The one hour online show had a little bit for everyone. There was music, Sam Heughan, a flaky live link to New York (they could have left that out really), Sam Heughan, whisky sampling and some nice views of the distillery and some smoking peat. Oh and did I mention Sam Heughan was there?
If you want to catch up on what all the tasters had to say you can view the tweets by searching for the hash tag #laphroaiglive on Twitter.
So, what did I think?
Here are my tasting notes … and the one which was my favourite on the night!
Tasting Notes – Laphroaig 15 Year Old (43%)
The 15 year old was last commercially produced in 2008 after being superseded by the 18 year old. Since then it’s gathered an iconic status.
Nose: Rich fruit and the unmistakable aromas of peat and smoke abound.
Palate: Smokey sweetness with a hint of toffee and vanilla.
Finish: Peppery spice and a long smokey finish top this dram off perfectly.
Overall: A fine dram. Rounded and well finished with that morish quality that keeps you sipping!
Tasting Notes – Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015 (51%)
This whisky is John’s interpretation of how Laphroaig would have been produced at the distillery 200 years ago. Distilled using only smaller stills and using cold smoked peat it is non-chill filtered and bottled without colouring.
Nose: Some real fruitiness hits you with this dram. The smokiness is very faint and there’s even a trace of mint!
Palate: Strong and full bodied with a fruity sweetness. The peat is well to the fore with this dram and there’s also a little liquorice.
Finish: Smooth, short finish with a dry smokiness to it.
Overall: A tougher dram than the 15yo – very traditional and a whisky that must have kept the islanders toasty and warm 200 years ago!
Tasting Notes – Laphroaig 21 Year Old (48.4%)
A limited edition distilled in 1993 and matured in a mix of barrels to intensify it’s flavours. It is non-chill filtered and natural colour.
Nose: Sweet vanilla and sugary fruits. Interesting that the signature peatiness is absent.
Palate: Lovely and sweet with a hint of fruit. A smooth dram.
Finish: Long smooth finish with a welcome spiciness to balance the sweet flavours. There’s some dry tobacco in there as well.
Overall: A cultured Laphroaig that loses a lot of it’s traditional strong flavours. Not that this is a negative, more of an alternative!
Tasting Notes – Laphroaig 32 Year Old (46.7%)
Only 6000 bottles of this expression have been produced – a very rare Laphroaig indeed! John also mentioned that there are some 34 yr old whiskies in there as well. Not surprisingly, this dram was the nights most anticipated!
Nose: Rich, sweet sherry, creamy vanilla, toasted almonds.
Palate: Tropical fruits abound with vanilla toffee
Finish: Dry, slightly spicy, rich and full bodied.
Overall: Once again, very muted in the smoke n’ peat department – this seems to be the destiny of older Laphroaigs.
My Favourite On The Night
Out of the four, I think it’s got to be the Laphroaig 15 Year Old.
Yeah, I could go for the 32 year old but most people will never get the chance to sample it (and I probably never will again!)
For me, the 15 has everything you expct from a Laphroaig and the reason everyone heads for the dram in the first place. Peat, smoke, vanilla and a warm fireside feeling!
Many thanks to Laphroaig for sending the samples and without whom!
Laphroaig is available to buy from these Whisky Merchants:-