Laphroaig 21 YO Friends of Laphroaig
Laphroaig 21 YO Friends of Laphroaig, 48,4 %
So here it is, the latest whisky to celebrate Laphroaig's 200th Anniversary. We have previously reviewed the Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015 and the Laphroaig 15 YO 200th Anniversary. Loved the first one, more meh! on the second one.
The Laphroaig 21 YO Friends of Laphroaig (FoL), is a release to celebrate that the official fan club of the distillery is 21 years old. Here is the official story of the whisky:
This limited edition was distilled throughout 1993, then poured into first fill ex-bourbon barrels to age. To add even greater complexity, both kiln-dried and air-dried American oak barrels were used to reflect the subtle changes in flavour that occur with the changing seasons. These barrels variations yield a bright gold colour, more intense vanilla flavour and subtle spice notes during the maturation process. Well balanced and complex, Laphroaig 21 Year Old is the perfect whisky to celebrate 21 years of friendship.
The whisky was initially made available only through a ballot for FoL members. I think the distillery expected the demand to far surpass the supply, which was the case for the Cairdeas this year. That was not to happen, however, and you can still order this whisky from the Laphroaig online shop. So what went wrong? Well, I think cost is the main issue most FoLs have with this bottling. It is sold in 35 cl bottles, which is a bit unusual in itself, and the price is a hefty GBP 99 for a bottle.
Here at Whisky Saga HQ we shall not evaluate the price, however, but rather dive (not literally!) into the whisky itself.
Nose (22/25): Mild peat, soft sea spray, delicate citrus notes, light touches of caramel and vanilla. I guess you catch my drift here. It is light and very approachable - almost beckoning. The siren call of Laphroaig?! Hmm. I better dive back in... Ah, I found the medicinal notes now - quite well hidden in this bottling. White pepper, vanilla, grassy notes and something slightly fishy and salty. I feel I am adrift in the bay outside the distillery, right now. The siren disappeared, though, so I shall have to finish the dram on my own. I'm fine with that!
Taste (22/25): Super smooth mouthfeel, but then it kicks your teeth in with a peppery, salty and peaty whammy! Omph! Well, who needs teeth to have a dram? Let's carry on. Salt and iodine - very Laphroaig-y. Cinnamon and ginger (the very fizzy kind).
Finish (21/25): A bit sweeter now - thick and honey-like caramel sauce. Relatively long finish, but it does flatten out a bit too soon. Slightly metallic towards the end - like licking a wet iron sword. A sword that could very well have been found in the waters outside the distillery.
Balance (22/25): I would have wanted maybe a touch more lively aromas, a bit more sweetness and a bit more peat on the nose, but I should not be nitpicking. I feel a bit numb now, but I have a toothless grin on my face.
Image from The Whisky Barrel.
Sláinte! - Thomas