The Laphroaig 15 year first appeared three decades ago before being replaced by its slightly older sibling, the 18 year, in 2009. This anniversary release carries on the proud tradition in celebration of the distillery’s 200th year, even if the supply is somewhat limited. In 2000, the 15 year was chosen for the Erskine Charity Bottling, when 270 bottles were drawn from a single cask signed by Charles, the Prince of Wales and is reported to be his scotch of choice. This offering is specifically geared toward offering a milder character, at least mild compared to more regular Laphroaig malts.
Age: 15 years
Location: Port Ellen
Nose: Peat, smoke, wet earth, brine, tobacco, fruit
Palate: Smoke, seaweed, peat, tobacco
Finish: Citrus, lime, brine
Comments: We first tasted this at a 2015 Laphroaig tasting at Ace Spirits, for those keeping score at home.
Adam – This is one of the first Laphroaigs I’d had that really woke me up to them. I like that it isn’t a monster or has that unfortunate sour finish so many of the younger expressions have. While still having a little of that usual rawness around the edges, it is more complex, interspersing peat and brine amid citrus and a delicious tobacco. One note does definitely not dominate, which makes it easy to come back to again and again. A lot going on here, which is fun in a Laphroaig. It’s like having the very earth itself hug you. It takes a few sips for the finish to build up, which is a nice contrast with the crispness the citrus elements give.
Jenny – Complex, bold, peaty and smokey but there is that dankness.
Meghan – I like this one over the 12 or the 18. It has an interesting citrus-y and briny smoke that it quite unique. I find most Laphroaigs quite grainy but the 15 does not share that aspect. It is a drier whisky with very little substantial mouthfeel. However, it is a nice change from some heavier or oilier whiskies.
Michael – I was getting a lot of fall fruits in the nose in the beginning. But then the more I smelled it and after my first taste, I started picking up more smoke and earthier notes. There’s a hint of brine on the palate for me. It has a nice long lingering finish. It’s just warming my heart right now. There are a lot of layers to this. I like the fact that it has something to say throughout that taste, from the front of the plate to the back, with that lingering worth. There’s some continuity there, which I always like in a scotch. It’s just tasty. I really like this one.
Peter – There’s a dryness to it, the lacking of oil. It evaporates. There’s a lot of heat and it mellowed out. I liked it the more I drank it. There’s a dry dank quality to it at times but it’s not unpleasant.
Mary-Fred – It has staying power. The smoke lingers. It rises to the top of the palate. I’m not getting any citrus. From the beginning, I had earth. It has a roundness to it. It fills your palate. It’s complex.