The Laphroaig 15 Year Old & Old Malt Cask 14
Two extremely hard bottles to find.. The Laphroaig 15 and Old Malt Cask (Laphroaig 14). These "brothers from another mother" are so similar and yet so different! One is considerably un-modern in style (meaning less peat and more subtle fruits) while the other is a rich, peaty dram that packs an enormous punch.
First, lets take a look at the Old Malt Cask - Laphroaig 14 year old. It was distilled at the Laphroaig distillery in October 1998 before a 14 year maturation in a single refill hogshead. It was bottled for the Old Malt Cask range in December 2012 and there are just 311 bottles available. The Old Malt Cask range is a unique and limited offering from a family owned company, Hunter Laing. Bottled from a single cask, no chill filtration, with a preferred strength of 50% abv. Each single cask bottle has been carefully and personally selected, to ensure a dram of the highest quality. Truly an exquisite peated whisky.
The Nose: Green cut grass, freshly cut peat, dry ashes, iodine with seaweed, honey and burnt sugar. The Palate: Initially sweet butter shortbread and honey, developing to seaweed and peat smoke.. The Finish: Long, oaky and oily with plenty of peat smoke.
Last year (2015) Laphroaig celebrated it's 200th Anniversary. All kinds of bicentennial events were held throughout the year and several special editions were released - one being this Laphroaig 15 Year Old.
The 15 was first released back in the 1980s, and was eventually replaced by the 18 many years later. Living in Vancouver, it's much harder for us to obtain these special releases, but when they do arrive, we are the first to know! As for the whisky itself - fans of the modern, more intensely peated Laphroaig profile may find this underpowered and lacking in smokiness. I was expecting a lot more, but was very optimistic knowing that it's only 43% abv. Having never tried the original 15 for the lack of being 12 years old at the time, I really enjoyed it for its old-style fruitiness and complexity.
The Nose: Soft and close at first. Seemed way to simple.. Then, after a few minutes it really started to open. A sweet fruity peat, something I've never smelt before. An almost non-existing ash and sea salt with a lemon twist. The Palate: Peatier, cleaner and more bourbon-like, paint thinner, sweet honey with bitter grapefruits and rubbery candies. The Finish: Medium length. Sweet, modern, honey and dash of sweet lemonade with that beautiful lingering peat.