Finally it’s time to taste the Laphroaig 10 years old, one of the most popular Islay whiskies in Italy, available in the supermarkets and in every bar. We have often criticised this whisky, even if we know that for a lot of people it was the “no return” dram: the single malt able to change your taste forever and to make you a whisky enthusiast. Let’s taste it, we hope to change our mind and to reconsider our judgement on the most popular bottling of this brutally adorable distillery. Thanks to Angelo for the dram and for being with us during the tasting.
N: the usual Laphroaig medicinal peat (dentist’s paste. Angelo says “dentist’s ether”, but you can follow him only if you were born before 70’s) here turns to aftershave notes. Lively and “wet” peat smoke, then ash (more precisely: copper ashtray). At the same time there’s a fresh and heavy sweetness, divided between licorice sticks (this whisky is an oak infusion), vanilla pods, honey, brown sugar and marron glacé. A lot of cereal, pure and young: glazed corn flakes. There’s also an abstract tropical fruitiness (it’s impossible to recognize a single fruit), pleasant but rather cloying. Very aromatic and perfumed. Pipe tobacco notes (we would say Latakia).
P: weak start, even poor, to tell the truth. The body is faint. Then it comes the oak: aggressive, too strong, a real smack in the face. Oxidized metal and a sticky toffee wall of caramel and marron glacé. It manages to be too sweet and too bitter at the same time (very medicinal, dentist’s paste, antiseptic). Damp overripe orange peel, almost rotten; maybe chinotto or lime.
F: hugely long and persistent! The sea now is everywhere (sea breeze, iodine air). There’s still that combo of metallic, bitter and extrasweet woody taste. It lasts forever, but it’s not always glorious.
We can’t say we’re satisfied by this dram. On the other hand we wouldn’t be honest if we didn’t recognize some objective qualities to this whisky. The profile is still unique and you can appreciate some flashes of the deepest soul of the distillery here and there (that medicinal peat in the back). The nose is the most compelling part, even if in the long run everything turns into a boring oaky sweetness. The palate, by contrast, is an oak squeeze without any complexity. The strong dilution and the chill filtration definetely murder the tasting experience, making it too weak. It’s like taming a lion (because Laphroaig is a lion) and transforming it into a tender cat. 78/100
Recommended soundtrack: Paul Simon – You can call me Al.