Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Laphroaig 10 Year Old Original Cask Strength

Mark Twain once said, "Too much of anything is bad, but too much of a good whisky is barely enough." I basically agree with Mr. Twain's statement every time I find myself one-on-one with any delicious dram. I'm sure my fellow DOS contributors would admit the same. But, there comes a dram every so often that makes my eyes dart up from the glass edge, face light up like a child being told Santa left him the keys to his shop, and mouth stumbling and falling upon itself in an attempt to tell whoever is close how amazing it is.

Ok, you get the point. It's no secret that I am referring to one of my favorite bottles, the Laphroaig 10 Year Old Original Cask Strength. And yes, too much of this is barely enough.

Laphroaig has existed as one of my favorite drams since I originally developed a palate that could essentially handle, and enjoy, eating peat and having an after peat dinner cigar rolled of peat. But it was not until recently that I happened across a bottle of 10 Year Old Cask Strength at my local, off-the-beaten-path liquor store. The fact this isn't a store that gets a lot of traffic for scotch is probably a good thing because according to the label, this bottle's origin is Batch 001, Bottled Feb. '09, at a whopping 57.8%. For comparison, currently on the Laphroaig website the last batch of cask strength was bottled in January, 2011 at 55.3%. This fella is a huge, huge, delicious whisky.

Nose: Smoke on smoke. Imagine a peat fire that has somehow lit itself on fire. At the same time, there is an amazing deep sweetness that lofts through as a result of the charred oak. I also noted that the high alcohol content almost surprisingly slips by.

Palate: Ah yes. If you enjoy Laphroaig 10 Year, get ready. This expression is simply giving you a true experience of what it is like to sample the regular 10, almost right off the cask. I say almost because it is only barrier filtered. A ton of peat smoke delivers the medicinal dose of flavor with that delightful nutty vanilla sweetness.

I definitely use a splash of water to let it release, although I don't agree with the label on the back of the bottle which for some reason says adding more water than whisky is good.

Finish: At first breath post consumption, I half expect to see wisps of smoke trailing from my lips. Unfortunately, none. Next is where the alcohol content gets to strut a little. The syrupy sweetness slides down your throat and ushers in a quick, but pleasant tingle that lasts for over a minute or so. I can literally feel it in my gums. This is good my friends.

My final thoughts on my friend the Laphroaig 10 Year Cask Strength are simple. I plan to always have a bottle in my cabinet. Especially when you factor in the pretty reasonable price (I got it for $59), this fills the role of the complex, peaty, and smoky whisky in your collection. If you love big Islay whiskies, pour yourself a dram of this.

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