Laphroaig 1995/2011 16 Yr Signatory Cask Strength: 59.5% abv
Background: Signatory has a range of whiskies called the Cask Strength series, and bless them for it. This particular bottling is a Laphroaig, and if you remember Laphroaig, you remember that they’re an Islay distillery and they don’t hold back when it comes to peating their whisky. This particular bottling is no exception, but don’t be afraid by the big numbers or big smokiness. This is a gentle giant, and as far as quality whiskies go, this is among the upper echelon.
Nose: Campfire, big peat, barbeque, wood smoke, sweet malt, slight salt, subtle white wine, seaweed, phenol, intense, slightly fruity, berries
A/W: More subtle, fruity, apple, honey, peat starts to calm down
Arrival: Warm, gentle peat, hot spice, ginger and cinnamon, vanilla
A/W: Sweet, slight smoke, honey
Body: Peaty, fruity, hot cinnamon, caramel, apple, berries, smokey zing
A/W: Slight peat, honey, slightly fudgy, oily
Finish: Fruity, peat, savory meat flavor, caramel, vanilla, malt, spice, subtle salt, slight sweet sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg
A/W: Peat, honey, well balanced spice, smoke, barbeque, barley, spice, hot cinnamon, slightly bready, yeast, slight fudge notes, hints of tobacco
Final Comments: This is one of the most refined tasting peated Scotches we’ve ever had. It has great balance and complexity, and this only gets better with some water, which comes as no surprise. What is a surprise is how well it holds up without the water. It isn’t harsh; it simply comes through smooth and “clean”, with a peat finish to contradict its smoothness. You might not realize for a second you’re drinking a Laphroaig, but it is a fantastic craft whisky. We’ve tried peated whiskies by Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Ardbeg, Kilchoman, Smokehead, Port Charlotte, Caol Ila and many others, but this might be the best one we’ve ever had.
Why you’d buy it: You have the money, and you aren’t afraid to buy an independent bottling of a fantastic peated Scotch.
Why you wouldn’t: You can’t afford it. That’s really the only reason you shouldn’t.