Friday, May 27, 2011

Mel's Vertical Laphroaig Tasting

I had the chance to meet Mel when I was in the USA in April... unfortunately he's in a worse situation than I am regarding availabilty of Scotch Single Malt, which he really loves... so I brought him some samples... the same Whiskys we'd during our last tasting...

Here's his report.

At the recent herf in Orlando, I was very surprised and pleased to find my Brother of the Leaf and Malt, Heiko (Eldondo) in attendance. Not long after we met, Heiko graced me with a package, which, when opened, revealed seven 20ml bottles of the Laphroaig Scotches that he and his group sampled in March. I finally found the time to do the sampling that these fine spirits deserve, and this is my take on the tasting.

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I used a proper nosing glass for each sample. I had on hand a bottle of Speyside-Glenvilet sparkling water, chilled, to cleanse my palate between tastings. I also had a bottle of Gleneagles Spring Water, from Scotland, used to add a few drops to the glass after nosing and tasting each sample neat. This opens the aromas and flavors a bit. Now, I am NOT a single malt expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I used a tasting template to record my impressions, which lent some degree of organization and procedure to the experience. So, without further adieu, here are my impressions of these wonderful Single Malts provided by my friend Heiko:

#1 Laphroaig Douglas Laing's Premier Barrel Selection, 7 yrs, 46%

Pale yellow color, with iodine, seaweed, smoke and herbal scents. On the palate, the flavors were pepper, peat, iodine and tangy. The body was mouth-coating and of medium texture. The finish was peaty, clean and almost sweet, and lingered for a long while. A very pleasant Scotch, indeed.

#2 Laphroaig Exclusive Malts, 10 yrs, 53.3%

Pale straw in color, with a clean, salt air and slightly smoky scent. The taste was intense but fresh, sweet with a hint of vanilla. The body was silky smooth and crisp. The finish was warm and long, smooth and savory, very slight peatiness. A wonderful Scotch.

#3 Laphroaig Single Malt Circle, 12 yrs, 59.9%

The color was light amber with a hint of gold. The scent was fruity and sweet, with a subtle peatiness. On the palate, it is tangy and assertive, with citrus and very subtle peat notes. The body was a smooth and light texture. The finish was clean, sweet, with lingering peat and smoke. Delicious.

#4 Laphroaig High Spirits, 13 yrs, 46%

The color was pale straw. Scents included sea air, light peat, tar and smoke. On the palate, soft peat and smoke, slight sweetness with a slow developing fruitiness. The body was dry and light, and very smooth. The finish was smooth and slightly sweet, with smoke and peat in proportion. An interesting Scotch, and excellent.

#5 Laphroaig Auld Distillers Collection, Chateau Lafite finish, 13 yrs, 54.0%

The color was medium amber. The scents were grass, seaweed and a complex citrus aroma. On the palate, it was light, fresh, spicy with a subtle sweetness, and very slight smoke and peat. The body was full, mouth-coating and velvety. The finish was exceedingly smooth, lingering and warm. WOW! A masterpiece of the distiller's art!

#6 Laphroaig Waldhaus am See, 18 yrs, 46%

Light gold in color. Floral, spice and a delicate sweetness in scent with very little smoke and peat. The taste was clean and sweet, well balanced, with vanilla and hints of citrus. The body was light in texture, with a soft, silky smoothness. The finish was delicate, restrained fruit - very pleasant but short lived. A very interesting, amazing and incredibly pleasant Scotch.

#7 Laphroaig 25 year, 40%

The color was beautiful, golden, almost amber. The scents were grass and seaweed, slight fruitiness, and the slightest hint of peat, with almost no smoke. On the palate, the tastes were herbal, very slight peat and smoke, complex fruit/citrus, all very well balanced. The body was silky smooth, viscous and almost oily in texture. The finish was surprisingly short, smooth and soft and very pleasant and savory, building to a peak and quickly dissipating. Another amazing example of the distiller's art. Nectar of the Gods, to be sure!

Thanks again to Heiko for allowing me the opportunity to sample these amazing bottlings from Laphroaig. These just aren't available here in the US, and I probably would never have had the experience but for his generosity.