Words: Aly Mathers
Ahh Laphroaig. For some, that big green bottle brings forth memories of instant regret. For others, myself included, it means full flavour, peaty hangovers and whisky-fuelled nostalgia.
This new offering from Islay is described by Distillery Manager, John Campbell to be the “richest of the rich” in terms of Laph’s of the past. The name ‘Lore’ has been chosen to reflect the passing down of tradition and skill through the generations allowing the true essence of Laphroaig to live on. A nod to the heritage of the distillery, it’s workers, managers and spirit… Whether you believe all that or not is up to you. Put simply, this is a new NAS expression from the distillery, with a maturation coming from both small American White Oak and large European Hogsheads, bottled at 48% abv.
So, what’s it taste like?
COLOUR: Golden Pale.
NOSE: Straight away you are hit with briney seawater, classic “coastal” notes and wet, claggy medicinal peat. This is not as intense as some of the other expressions from the distillery, with it’s recognisable peat reek coming through as sharp and more metallic. Personally, I’ve always found a huge amount of sweetness in a Laphroaig, but there’s no evidence of that here. It’s the spices that rule the nose. Spent coffee grounds, wet coals, smoked ham and worn leather. It’s all very sticky and humid, yet inviting too.
TASTE: Very dry but soft on the tongue. Relatively subtle actually with the most prominent flavour being cold, sharp copper! It’s in no way pungent or offensive, instead it’s a balance between rich raisins, burnt sugar and bitter dark chocolate. Metallic again. In fact, overly so with a sensation almost like licking a two pence piece from the bottom of your pocket. Peat encircles everything and only really pulls forward in the finish.
FINISH: Short and dry. Wwoodsmoke, sea salt and cracked black peppercorns but there are earthy, almost nutty tones here to. Very crisp and tight.
VERDICT: This is not exactly the rich, heavy Laphroaig that the marketing department would have you believe (and for that it was a tad disappointing) but that’s not to say that it isn’t an excellent addition to the range. Is it a huge, sherry monster with massive hits of peat smoke? No. And that’s a shame, but what the distillery has created with the Lore is a dram that bridges the gap between the rest of the bottlings in the range – as different as it is interesting.
For more info on the Laphroaig Lore visit: http://www.laphroaig.com/lore/
Or why not make your own Laphroaig Tasting Notes Pic: http://www.laphroaig.com/lore/Your-Opinion.aspx