Distillery/Brand: Laphroaig | Region: Islay | ABV: 59.2% | Colour: Deep Gold
Nose: 8.8 | Palate: 8.8 | Finish: 8.8 | Overall Score: 8.8
Is this one of the greatest Islay whisky series ever? I’m inclined to think so.
I first came across this series when the Batch 003 caught my eye. I didn’t know much about whiskies back then but I knew I liked cask strength whiskies and I liked Islay whiskies. And at 35GBP this one was a no-brainer.
Of course, once I opened the bottle and had my first sip I knew that I would have to own every single release from this series – past and future. Given the fact that I have mild OCD anything with a numbered batch meant I had to have the entire set.
Thus, began my journey of securing earlier releases and, like a hound, finding new ones and adding them to my collection. I was fortunate enough to grab the last few straight from the distillery. Believe me there’s nothing like drinking this whisky straight from the bottle while sitting on the stone pier in front of Warehouse No. 1
The CS series is matured in first-fill bourbon casks and bottled at natural strength. My sample is from a brand new bottle and served at a whopping 59.2%
Nose: Iodine. Lots of it. Red fruits. Moschino cherries. Red grapes. Liquorice. Fishnets. Sea salt flakes. Green tobacco leaf. Mint leaf. Dark cherry chocolate. Cardamom. Betel leaf. Toasted oak. Hint of spice. Very sweet nose which mellows out to a touch of savoury. Fantastic. 8.8
Palate: Boom! Big. Strong. Lots of bite. Strong oak. Jolts the taste buds. Lindt red chilli chocolate. The red grapes again. Fennel. Dries mid-palate. Sea salt. Ceylon black tea. With some water the iodine increases. Becomes even more dry. Prefer it without water, for sure. 8.8
Finish: Long. Oak. Cardamom. Spices. Green tea. 8.8
Overall Comments: Well, what can I say. This one is an absolute corker. Love everything about it. Love it all the more for bringing back memories of Islay.
Overall Score: 8.8
Distillery/Brand: Laphroaig | Region: Islay | ABV: 58% | Color: Sunlight
Nose: 23 | Taste: 23 | Finish: 23 | Balance: 23 | Rating: 92
Laphroaig, since 2009, have been churning out a cask strength version of their 10 year old every year. Each edition identifiable by the batch number.
I’ve pretty much enjoyed each and every one of these releases though Batch 003 is slightly ahead of the pack. This Cask Strength series is also one of the reasons why Laphroaig is on top of my Brilliant Distillery list. If there’s anything dependable in the world right now it’s that the next release in this series is going to be bloody good.
Just as this one is.
Bottled at a hefty 58% it is closer to the Laphroaig core flavors compared to the other batches. While the others were a touch restrained this one goes all out.
Nose: Immediate soot and ash. Dying embers on a smoldering barbecue that’s just seen a plateful of sausages. Cold cuts on the side. Faint seaweed and salty fishing nets bring out the maritime nature of the spirit. Earthy peat mixed with dried tea and cherry sweets. It’s a strong captivating nose. Darker and stormier than it’s predecessors.
Palate: Remarkably sweet. Figs and raisins. Then some citrus. Oranges, lemons and lime all covered in ash. Brewed black tea. Finally powerful white spices on peat. This is sexy jet fuel.
Finish: Insanely long. All I can think about is lemons. Lots of lemons. Spicy lemons.
So happy Laphroaig is taking the time out to put these spirits together. It makes being disappointed by Ardbeg that much easier.
I had been meaning to put two hard hitters against each other for a while now but never got around to doing it. But tonight I had the house all to my self and figured I had no excuses.
For this epic heads up battle I chose two of my favorite cask strength whiskies from Islay: The Laphroaig Cask Strength Batch 005 and the Lagavulin 12 – 2012.
Individually they both score very high on my scale but I had never had them side to side so I never really knew which one I liked better.
Lagavulin 12 . 2012 / 56.1%
Nose: Peat butter. Smoke. Red apples. Sour (like tamarind). Lots of greens. Sharp acid like lemon citrus. Ash
Palate: Fiery peppers. Apricot. Pineapple sponge cake. Peat. Smoke. Fresh greens. Cucumber.
Finish: Long. Mint. Spice.
Nose: 22 | Palate: 23 | Finish: 23 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 90
Laphroaig Cask Strength Batch 005 / 57.2%
Nose: Sweet. Honey. Jam. Maple. Cardboard. Red sweets. Coca Cola. Cherry licorice. Caramel. Hint of peat. Iodine.
Palate: Cherries. Black pepper. Bitter chocolate. Peat. All spice. Burnt jam. Oak.
Finish: Long. Spicy. Dark chocolate. Iodine.
Nose: 23 | Palate: 23 | Finish: 23 | Balance: 23 | Rating: 92
So here’s the verdict.
While the Lagavulin 12 is a quality dram the Laphroaig just manages to edge past in the nose and the overall balance of the dram. It is just that much more flavorful with hints of exotic.
The Lagavulin is raw power while the Laphroaig much easier to drink even though it’s at a higher ABV. And for me that tips the scales in it’s balance.
Definitely a very enjoyable match up!
The Laphroaig 10, in my opinion, is possibly one of the finest and most flavorful single malts out there. And at a price which begs for multiple bottles to be stowed away for a rainy day. Which is precisely what I’ve done.
The nose is like standing atop a hill overlooking the churning sea as a light drizzle of honey and lemon spatter against your anorak. As you look up the strong peat and iodine coupled with the salty spray of the gorgeous waves remind you what it is like to be in Islay country. And carried on the back of the robust smoke comes just the tiniest hint of black pepper spices.
The honeyed palate covered in oak shavings and cardamon pods is truly a work of art. The beautifully balanced greens give way to the most delightful peppery profile I have ever encountered.
The medium finish is just so ever slightly nutty with a dab of, dare I say it, dark chocolate and spice.
Rating : 92