Laphroaig 30yo, 1987-2017, XOP - Xtra Old Particular
ABV: 53.5%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°°°°
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: Refill Hogshead (# DL11834, 239 btl.)


Colour: Gold.
Nose: The nose starts off with a restrained maritime note of seaweed, medicinal gauze bandage and peat smoke - but not by far as extreme as with the younger Laphroaig bottlings. Behind that there is a delicate malty sweetness with lingering vanilla and pleasant fruity elements of apricots, peaches with a touch of lemon as well. This is followed by some spicy tones of oak, cloves and nutmeg in the back. A very appealing nose indeed.
Palate: Sweet and very oily start on the palate with barley sugar, peaches, apricots and vanilla. This is complemented by a powerful and warming mix of oak, nutmeg, black pepper and cloves, all wrapped in gentle medicinal flavours, iodine, seaweed and peat smoke. Waves of flavours - very harmonious and balanced.
Finish: The finish is pleasantly long, warm and slightly dry with creamy barley sugar, a touch of bitter oranges, slightly herbal notes and allspice. Maritime flavours on the tail with cold peat smoke overall.
With water: Very complex mix of flavours on the nose with a splash of water. Still fruity and sweet with apricots, cereals and vanilla, nicely mixed with oak, allspice and pepper. Harmonious elements of seaweed, salty air, iodine, peat and cold smoke in the back. A gorgeous nose. Rich, soft and creamy on the palate with apricots, vanilla and barley sugar. Only slightly warming with oak, white pepper, nutmeg and allspice. A hint of lemon and subtle peat smoke in the back. The finish is still long, creamy and a little dry with a touch of spiced oak, nutmeg and pepper. Creamy notes of vanilla, subtle sticky fruit and sea salt on the tail.
Comments: This is a big whisky. A pleasantly harmonious dram containing all the elements of a typical Laphroaig, but which has lost its pungent edges due to the three decades of maturation. Very well-balanced! I like it very much because the intensity of smoke, peat and medicinal notes is tamed with the creamy malty sweetness and lingering fruitiness coming to the fore. To me, after adding some water, it becomes a delightful, multi-layered, exceedingly pleasant single malt, which is best enjoyed in a cosy atmosphere in front of a fireplace.


I thank Douglas Laing for the sample and the photograph!

Laphroaig 18yo, 1998-2017, Old Particular, Consortium of Cards 1st Release
ABV: 50.0%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°°°
Bottling: Douglas Laing
Cask type: Refill Butt (665 btl.)


Colour: Straw.
Nose: There's immediate peat smoke on the nose, complemented with notes of burnt rubber, seaweed and chimney soot. Behind that delicate vanilla emerges, followed by a pleasant sweetness of crisp malted barley with gentle medicinal notes in the background. Rich and powerful.
Palate: A pleasant sweet start on the palate with vanilla, malted barley and lingering yellow fruit - lemons and apricots in particular. This is immediately followed by a warming spiciness of black pepper, oak, cloves and allspice, accompanied with lingering peat smoke. subtle iodine and roasted flavours. Nicely mouth-coating.
Finish: The finish is long, warm and tender sweet with vanilla, honey and hints of oranges. Notes of pepper, allspice, and a whiff of maritime flavours in the end with gentle cold peat smoke overall.
With water: Water tames the power of this malt with less notes of peat, smoke and maritime flavours. The lovely sweetness on the palate is reduced with water, bringing more dry oak, medicinal notes and smoke to the fore, while crisp malted barley lingers towards the finish. The finish shows medium length with a warming mix of spiced oak, cloves and creamy vanilla in the end.
Comments: Typical Laphroaig. Powerful, lively, more smoky than seaweedy. An excellent mix of sweet, fruity, peaty and spicy flavours. Very well balanced, complex and mouthfilling. Not the big phenolic giant but beautifully mature and sophisticated. Definitely one for the hip flask whilst sitting on the dock of an Islay bay. Highly drinkable with absolutely no need of water here!


I thank Douglas Laing for the sample and the photograph!

Laphroaig 10yo, 2016, Cask Strength Batch 008
ABV: 59.2%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: Distillery
Cask type: Seasoned Charred Oak Barrels


Colour: Amber
Nose: Bold and intense on the nose. Hospitals, peat bog, kipper, and smouldering wood. This is lovely mixed with subtle sweet and fruity notes of peaches, orange peel and lemon. Mild antiseptic. A very evocative scent, which gives way to vanilla, liquorice, cereals and allspice.
Palate: Rich, strong and intense on the palate with a lovely sweet fruitiness of tangerines, apricots and oranges. This is complemented by a powerful warm load of chilli, oak, cloves, peat and burnt rubber, perfectly wrapped in smouldering wood smoke. Intensely muscular. Oily with a long-lasting mouthfeel.
Finish: The finish is very long, tender sweet with barley sugar and nicely warming. Turns into medicinal, spicy, and dry with smoke, cloves and earthy peat on the tail.
With water: Fresh and fruity on the nose by adding a splash of water. There's more tangerings and citric fruits coming through while the peaty, smoky and medicinal background remains rather stable. Water tames this beast significantly! There's more citric fruitiness coming to the fore while the spiciness with pepper, cloves, oak and allspice is clearly reduced. Peat, smoke and crisp barley linger towards the finish. The finish still shows good length with sweet and creamy notes of malted barley, complemented by slightly medicinal peaty flavours with tender wood smoke on the tail.
Comments: A powerful whisky, beautifully balanced and rounded. Strong, delicate and warming. A perfect combination of the rich, the sweet and the peaty/smoky. Full of classic Laphroaig flavour - mouthfilling and nicely complex. Certainly one for a hip flask whilst out on a wintry morning.

Laphroaig 15yo, 2000-2015, 200th Anniversary Edition
ABV: 43%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: Distillery
Cask type: -- (72,000 btl.)


Colour: Gold.
Nose: The nose starts off with delicate peat smoke and seaweed wrapped in lingering fruity flavours of lemon, pink grapefruit, mirabelle, orange and mango. Sweet notes of barley emerge with coastal aromas, medicinal notes and hints of smouldering wood. Hints of vanilla, toffee and a whiff of sea spray in the back. A very elegant and appealing nose!
Palate: A soft and very well rounded palate, with a creamy mouthfeel. Sweet liquorice with a fruity edge of tangerine, pear and lemon. Notes of tobacco leaves, peat, tar and seaweed intermingle with delicate malted barley, vanilla and hints of brine towards the slightly smoky finish.
Finish: The finish is long and pleasantly sweet with coal dust, smoky malt, acacia honey and creamy fruit. Mellow with salt, spiced oak and a tender peaty aftertaste.
With water: Water significantly tames the peat smoke bringing more fruity and malty flavours to the fore. On the palate, however, the dram is less sweet and fruity with more spices, oak and cloves, tar and coal dust. The finish is medium long, slightly warm, creamy and fruity with a touch of peat and subtle smoke.
Comments: A lovely, multi-faceted fine old Islay malt. Beautifully mature, where the peaty backbone is perfectly balanced with lively yellow fruit and powerful spice. Smooth with a rich and sweet aroma profile wrapped in the lingering coastal flavours only Islay can provide. A great whisky which keeps my memories to its sadly discontinued predecessor alive and kicking!

Laphroaig Select, Distillery Bottling
ABV: 40%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °
Bottling: Distillery
Cask type: A Special Selection of American and European Casks


Colour: Gold.
Nose: The nose starts off with classic medicinal peat notes, followed by barley sugar, vanilla and a delicate touch of red berries and citrus fruit. Smoky with gentle coal dust, tender smouldering wood and pleasant notes of smoked ham in the back. Quite appealing.
Palate: Initially sweet on the palate with barley sugar, complemented by dry and dusty peat, ashy flavours, and a touch of tar. Hints of vanilla and aniseed intermingle with warm spices - oak, cloves, tender nutmeg and white pepper. Pleasantly warming towards the finish.
Finish: The finish is medium long and warm. Sweet barley sugar and peat remain in sight, accompanied by hints of tar and coal dust on the tail.
With water: Significantly less sweet and fruity on the nose with intense peat smoke, chimney soot, and tar. The sweetness remains stable on the palate, along with warm spice and lingering citrus fruit. The finish is medium long, warm, smoky and peaty with a slightly hint of barley sweetness.
Comments: A quiet Ileach. A soft and unusual dram from Laphroaig, and somewhat one-dimensional to me. Not as punchy and rich as the 10 year old or Quarter Cask expressions. I missed the body of flavour and the big mouthfeel. Perhaps a good introduction to Islay whiskies but not one I'd buy.

Laphroaig 32yo, 2015, Limited Ultra-Premium Edition

ABV: 46.6%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°°°°
Bottling: Distillery
Cask type: Ex-Oloroso casks (5,880 btl.)

Colour: Reddish gold.
Nose: The nose starts off with a lovely mix of sweet, spicy and plenty of sooty flavours. There's a delicate sweet fruitiness with plums, apricots, figs and raisins, complemented by Christmas cake spiciness, nutmeg, and cinnamon, along with chimney soot, peat smoke, coal ash and a maritime edge of briny flavours. With time lingering vanilla arrives with a pleasant freshness of citrus, eucalyptus and mint. Powerful, complex and exceedingly aromatic.
Palate: Very rich and oily on the palate. There's a delicate sweetness with toffee, apricot jam, liquorice and dried fruit - mango, plums and raisins - along with a hint of citrus notes. This is immediately followed by a good shake of cloves, oak, nutmeg, ginger, and cracked black pepper. The peat smoke is always present here but not intrusive and complemented by sooty, ashy, and medicinal notes with a slightly salty edge. Lingering dark chocolate and dry cocoa powder emerge with delicate nutty notes in the back. Thick and extremely mouth-coating.
Finish: The finish is long, warm, sweet and tangy. Toffee sweetness and dried fruity flavours fade away leaving the dry sooty and ashy peat smoke. Delicate oak and lingering dark chocolate are flashing up towards the end with a hint of maritime edge on the tail. Glorious!
With water: Significantly less fruity and sweet on the nose with intense peat smoke, chimney soot, tar and bitumen. The sweetness, however, remains stable on the palate, along with hot and intense spice and lingering citrus fruit. The finish is medium long, warm, and spicy with sticky dark honey on the tongue and lingering peat smoke.
Comments: This is a gorgeous and dignified dram to celebrate the distillery's 200th anniversary year. An exceptional whisky, very complex, rich with layers of flavour impressively demonstrating the brilliance older Islay whiskies can be. A perfect symbiosis of sweetness, sherry, peat and smoke, without any dominating wood flavours. Grab a sample, sip in front of an open fire in a brown leather chair, then you are in heaven.

I thank Stefan Hennig for the sample and Beam Suntory Deutschland for the photograph!

Laphroaig 25yo, 1990-2015, Highland Circle 25th Anniversary
ABV: 54.1%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°°°°
Bottling: Malts of Scotland
Cask type: Bourbon hogshead (MoS 15057, 218 btl.)


Colour: Pale gold.
Nose: The nose starts off with a delicious malty sweetness and lingering vanilla behind. Subsequently, peat smoke emerges along with Laphroaig typical medicinal notes, but not that pungent, even gentle iodine, salt and mineral tones with a touch of flintstone. Subtle fruit is coming through, citrus, oranges, along with spicy tones of cloves and oak. Powerful, bold, intense and exceedingly pleasant.
Palate: A very sweet start on the palate with citrus fruit, oranges, honey and delicate vanilla. This is immediately overlain by warm and hot spice, cracked black pepper, oak and glove, followed by gentle medicinal flavours, iodine, seaweed, complemented by a crisp malty sweetness. Overall there is lingering peat smoke. Extremely mouth-coating and prickling spice on the tongue.
Finish: Very long and warm with sticky dark honey on the tongue, luscious orange and allspice, with maritime flavours in the end and peat smoke overall. Amazingly delicate.
With water: Fresh sea air, iodine, seaweed and significantly less malty and fruity sweetness on the nose. The sweetness, however, is still present on the palate with more prickling spice and a long and warm finish with excellent peat smoke.
Comments: This is a top whisky. Powerful, intense with an outstanding balance of malty sweetness, spicy flavours and maritime notes. It is typical Laphroaig with full integration of the distillery character, perfectly matured with less pungency. Oak isn't dominating too much here and the peat one can expect from a Laphroaig is nicely present. A brilliant Laphroaig, one of the best 25yo bottlings I've ever had from this distillery.


I thank Markus Siering for sharing a sample with me and for the photograph!

Laphroaig 30yo, 1975-2006, 700ml, Distillery Bottling
ABV: 43%
Region: Islay
Price per bottle: °°°°°
Bottling: Distillery
Cask type: --

Colour: Very dark amber.
Nose: Rich and powerful. Almost pungent with smoke and peat. Typical Laphroaig medicinal flavours - tar, iodine, phenols, with hints of ripe fruit and waves of sherry underneath. Lingering nutty flavours with oaky tones. You can nose this for hours!
Palate: Bold and complex. Dried ripe fruits, maybe apricots. Quite sweet with tamed peat and smoke. Oily with a touch of tarry oak and iodine. Very elegant.
Finish: Long. Fruity sweetness with lingering vanilla, oaky spice. Dry and tarry end and a smoky wave.
With water: I didn't have the heart to water this beauty down.
Comments: An intense and complex dram. Very elegant mix of the rich, sweet and peaty/smoky with three decades having tamed the medicinal Laphroaig character in a perfect manner. This is an outstanding whisky you should appreciate once in a lifetime.