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Laphroaig 1998 Old Malt Cask 12-Year

50% ABV - Islay, Scotland

Nose: Sweet, phenolic peat, accompanied by cereal and fresh fruits (almost tropical). The stretch tasting notes include vanilla and melon.

Taste: Fresh fruits and phenolic, medicinal peat smoke. Mildly fruity (again the tropical flavours tease), with a creamy mouthfeel – must be that non-chill filtration. Almost a honey tea note mixed in.

Finish: It’s medium-short, but leaves light peat smoke, sweet fruits, and spice (ginger comes to mind).

This was a dusty find at one of the few local stores that have managed to hang on to some very interesting stock. I’m a big fan of Laphroaig and after humming and hawing for a few days after I first saw this, I went back and picked it up. In terms of bottling date, this by far represents the oldest bottle I have in my collection! Bottled in 2010, this was still years before I developed an appreciation for whisky. I’m fairly sure I was still into rum and cokes (using "fancy" Appleton Estate or Bacardi Dark) and starting to get into vodka sodas. What a journey I have taken to end up here… (I am happy to finally be in whisky land!)

Even before I went looking, I had heard that single cask Laphroaigs are hard to come by – and very expensive. I can surely attest to that statement on price! This set me back ~$240 CAD after taxes. (Yikes!) It’s a huge premium to pay considering the ‘Official Bottling’ 10-Year is $70 and the 15-Year had been priced at $200, when it was available. However, this is likely to be one of the few Laphroaig single casks that I will get my hands on… or at least that is certainly how it feels.

What about the whisky? It has quite the phenolic and medicinal-style peat with a certainly sweet, fresh fruit background. The nose doesn’t do any justice to this whisky – it’s all about the taste, and the finish is good but a little shorter than I want. I feel that this Laphroaig Old Malt Cask bottling is teetering towards being one dimensional, though Douglas Laing must have selected a good barrel here. There are some really nice fresh/tropical fruits, and that pairs really well with Laphroaig’s signature peat flavours. Water helps to bring out the sweetness, but it is quite approachable without any.

Details: Distilled 1998 April. Bottled 2010 October. Aged 12 Years. One of 318 Bottles "Charged from a Refill Hogshead". DL REF 6704.

Tasting Notes (Official): Nose: Opens to old style hairdressing – warms sweet ‘n’ peaty. Palate: Distinctly phenolic, tarry, creosoted – still sweet. Finish: Ashy, rather sooty – as above, still sweetly phenolic.

Tasted 05 July 2020. (Posted 05 July 2020.)

89/100
Detailed Rating Information...

90+: Fantastic whisky; highly recommended. My favourite whiskies – I might have more than one bottle if the price is right and the supply is limited! The higher values in this range will reflect a stronger balance and consistency between components.
85-89: Great whisky; recommended. Whiskies that really tick the flavour boxes and you'll likely hear about these from me. Great bottles to have stocked at all times.
80-84: Very good whisky; recommended, but still consider trying before you buy. Anything is this range or above I would gladly order at a restaurant or buy a bottle.
75-79: Good whisky; consider trying before you buy. These are whiskies that I enjoyed drinking, but likely would reach for another bottle from the shelf or select something different to order.
65-74: Average; consider trying before you buy, but not recommended. There is nothing that stood out about this whisky and I might be inclined to mix it with soda or in a cocktail, instead of trying to enjoy its own flavours.
50-64: Bad; not recommended.


Whisky Bottle