Laphroaig is an institution on Islay. As such, they’ve had time to experiment. Some whiskys get additional flavoring from being partially or wholly aged in a variety of barrels (ex-bourbon, ex-sherry, ex-etc.). The folks at Laphroaig have doubled, nay, tripled down on that area of the distillation process with this Triple Wood offering. The first is ex-bourbon American oak, the second is quarter casks (smaller cask means more of the whisky is in contact with the wood and thus takes on more flavoring), and the third is ex-Oloroso sherry European oak.
Maturation: Bourbon and sherry casks
Location: Port Ellen
Nose: Smoke, kerosene, heather, sour cherry
Palate: Peat, smoke, iodine and brine, butterscotch
Finish: Jolly Rancher, taffy, smoke
Comments: Water is not required, but removes some of the burn.
Adam – I tried a Laphroaig when I was in grad school, and the experience was not pleasant. However, I’m older and (potentially) wiser, so decided to give this one a try. I like how smoky it is, though it remains a very strange mixture of sweet and smoky, more sweet than many Islays. I find the nose refreshing, yet still find myself thinking more on what other Islays do better by the time I hit the finish. On the bright side, it doesn’t have that sour, emaciated finish that’s typical of most Laphroaigs. Definitely better than the Cairdeas. In fact, it may be my favorite Laphroaig to date.
Kate – Skunky peat, kerosene, and acid reflux. Who wouldn’t love this?
Meghan – I want the back end of this Scotch to match the front. In the beginning it is smokey and sweet with a nicely balanced brine. The sour cherry/Jolly Rancher aspect is tempered by birch smoke. But then in the back palate and finish- peat and nothing but peat in it’s worst swamp gassy form. Even worse, it lingers on and on. Once again, Laphroaig and I are a match met nowhere.