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Thursday
Apr132017

Classic Laphroaig

Have you ever thought about what your favorite Scotch whisky distillery is? I have to be honest: I don't spend a lot of time tackling that subject in my mind these days. It's funny though because when I was a kid and a teenager I was constantly updating and re-ranking my favorite things: my favorite bands, my favorite movies, my favorite baseball player, etc. When it comes to distilleries, I don't really have a favorite. I have soft spots in my heart based on experiences and memories, but when it comes to whisky there's not one I generally prefer over another. At least, not one that comes to mind easily.

However....when I go back and check my purchase history at K&L, and then look at my bar to see which whiskies I've consumed the most of, there's a clear winner: Laphroaig. I've never thought about it until now, nor have I really looked into it before, but apparently I drink more Laphroaig than any other Scottish single malt. Does that make it my favorite? Maybe. I really, really like Laphroaig. I like the 15 year immensly (that one's almost gone...sigh). I drink the standard 10 year on the rocks at least once a week. I have a few old Signatory bottles I'm saving for my birthday in my wine locker that we bought a few years back. I've bought every limited or Cairdeas edition they've released since 2011. I've not done that for any other distillery. Does that make Laphroaig my favorite? Or better yet...does it merely mean that Laphroaig has consistently released the best bang for your buck whiskies since I started drinking single malt?

I'll bet you it's the latter. Since I don't play favorites, I've probably continually bought Laphroaig whiskies over the years because I've felt the price to quality ratio was in balance. Seeing that's been the status quo from the distillery, I feel obligated to continue that tradition with this single cask 16 year old edition I found in Glasgow last year. It's a textbook Laphroaig speciman, aged in a refill hogshead with light vanilla and sweet fruit on the entry, loads of peat and Islay smoke on the mid, and a breathy note of iodine and soot on the finish. At 53% cask strength, it's also dialed up a bit. But not so much as to overwhelm your taste buds without water. I feel keeping this sub-$100 is the move, despite the fact I know we could sell the whole cask in a day at $120.

But where's the fun in that? That's not what Laphroaig would do. At least, it's not what they've done thus far.

2000 Laphroaig 16 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $89.99 - This 16 year old single barrel, cask strength version of Laphroaig is simply classic across the board and having spent that time in a refill hogshead the wood influence is mellow and just enough to round out the edges. At 53.2% ABV, the proof is punchy enough to lift the peat smoke and elevate the phenolic notes, but this is still a whisky you can drink neat. It's full of everything you love about Laphroaig without any of the gimmicky or marketing-related spins we see so often on the mass market today. There's no cask finishing or special lost recipe here, just vintage medicinal Islay goodness. Sweet vanilla gives way to chimney soot, bonfire ash, and that quintessential Laphroaig smoke. The finish goes on for minutes, the potent distillery character sticking to the palate for as long as it can hang on. Considering the price we're currently offering this for, you may want to buy two. This is a whisky you'll want to come back to time and time again, and unfortunately older, reasonably-priced Islay whiskies at full proof aren't so easy to come by these days. You can thank our direct relationship with Old Particular for this hot deal! 

-David Driscoll