The Laphroaig 18 Year was initially released in 2009 to replace the old 15 year. The spirits business being ever-changing, the 15 year came back as a special release to celebrate the distillery’s 200th anniversary in 2015. We loved it. After only several years on the market, the 18 year was scuttled at the end of 2016 to make way for the reintroduction of the 15 year (again) as a yearly Friends-of-Laphroaig Cairdeas release. While it’s good to see Laphroaig still hanging on to age statements in the current marketplace, the further limiting of its aged stock means the aged offerings we do have available will be harder to find and, in all likelihood, more expensive. If you can find a bottle of the Laphroaig 18 Year, we heartily recommend you pick one up.
Location: Port Ellen
Nose: Peat, spice, tobacco, leather
Palate: Bacon, butterscotch, tobacco, grapefruit
Finish: Dark chocolate, peat, smoke, orange, brine
Comments: A wee drop of water unfolds the spirit a little but is not needed in the slightest.
Adam – The Laphroaig 18 Year isn’t just a scotch, it’s a feast. The pallet of flavors blended into this single malt is smooth and engaging, like an older gentleman you happen to strike up a conversation with at a jazz club who has traveled the world and loves to share his stories. This is quintessential Islay, too, encapsulating so many elements of what I love about this little island and enriching it with a little citrus, chocolate and butterscotch to balance the peat, brine and smoke. Nothing overpowers on its own, this lovely is subtle and balanced and rewarding if you’re patient. And if you let it sit out a bit after you pour, the peat and smoke lessen in the nose and the nuances come out to play. It’s not until you’re done, however, that a lovely buffed leather smell arises from the empty glass. Magical.
Meghan – It’s just a damn good scotch. Part of me just wants to leave it at that as this is definitely a whisky that can speak for itself. It has just about everything I want in a whisky and very few things I don’t. True, I’d like less tobacco and more smoke on the palate. I also wouldn’t say no to a fresher nose but it does at least tell you what you will be getting. An extra burst of citrus all around wouldn’t hurt either, but then, it is an Islay, not an Island whisky. I had the opportunity and immense pleasure recently to smoke a cigar that had been rolled in the 2017 Cairdeas. The 18 reminds me of it as it combines that whisky’s sweeter aspects with a tobacco smoke and palate. This isn’t a dram that I would want to drink all year (though I certainly wouldn’t ever turn it down) but one to be drank in the midst of dark winter when hopes are falling towards bleak and a person needs the reminder that there are perks to holing up near a heat vent.
Michael – When you freshly peel an orange or a lime, that citrus zest. I think what I love about this one is that it has a lot of unique, distinct flavors. One of the things that age brings to scotches is that the edges blend together, so you shift from bacon to orange zest to brine. I love how seamlessly they knit together.
Mary-Fred – Incredibly smooth. The smoke is nice, not overwhelming. Like sitting around a bonfire. A little bit of band-aid at the end.
Peter – It’s just a little sweet, almost like maple syrup before it’s maple syrup. The sap. There’s a cold grease sense, maybe related to the bacon notes.
Ben – Like when you’re swimming in a lake and you find a warm pocket.