Zesty oak and warm peat smoke top notes, with sweet undertones, reminiscent of fresh nutmeg and toasted almonds. Faintly salty. Laphroaig 15yo is a smoother and more elegant elder sibling to the robust 10 year-old.
Nose: Buttery smooth, dry oak and peat smoke. Touch of brine.
Palate: Sweet toasted almonds, hazelnuts and dried peach. Creamy, almost melty texture.
Finish: Long, dry and entirely satisfying. Long aftertaste of toasted almonds, smoked peaches and hints of brine. A distant echo of creosote.
This is a fantastic Laphroaig. I would go as far to say this is the best Laphroaig I have ever tasted. This dram is smooth yet bold, with a richness and depth that seems to expand into your mouth. There are sweet notes of fresh peach and paper-thin smoke. Fresh cut oak. On the nose I am crammed full of nuts and nuts and peat smoke.
Laphroaig 15 Year Old is utter escapism. This is a whisky that can take you out of your own world and away to a new one. Very near perfection. The finish is long and lip smacking. The soft peat smoke that follows the sweet and smokey top notes is satisfying and weighty.
I have recommended Laphroaig in the past, but that was the 10 year old Laphroaig expression. This is a gentler take on the Laphroaig style, with an added touch of subtle almond sweetness. This dram is completely different to the 10 Year Old. Where the 10 year-old is to punch first, the 15 year-old is more of an old-fashioned gentleman.
If I am honest I prefer the 10 year old as I normally find Laphroaig and its relationship with peat a little too strong, but this was a drop of class on a cold night. This is a whisky for contemplation and is well above its price range.
Laphroaig 15 Year Old has been an excellent old-school whisky. I have to say though, that this is a malt that is just too smooth to be an Islay malt, and scratches too many distillery-mystery itches to be whiskies from other regions. There are just too many clues: the gentle nuttiness and sweetness of this whisky lend themselves to the island of Islay. Add this to the gentle smokiness, which never rears up to be aggressive, and this whisky clearly has a connection to Islay.
Laphroaig is a malt that often makes one reassess the grading systems used in whisky. This dram is so much better than the score I am giving it. Not just good, but excellent. I have the feeling this is a whisky I will be going back to frequently.
But I have to score whisky based on the scale I have developed. I therefore give it a score of 8.5/10. I would buy an entire bottle though.
Laphroaig 15yo is that good.
Points of Interest:
- This is a brilliant whisky at a mid-range price.
- Laphroaig 15 is from 1997, a vintage year for Laphroaig.
- Laphroaig 15yo is bottled at 41.1% ABV.
- Laphroaig 15yo is matured in an ex-bourbon barrel.
- This is a non-chill-filtered spirit.
- Laphroaig has three distinctively different types of peat. The peat in the 15yo is classified as “complex peat” through the use of the following peat types: 1.Peat from the Dramores area of the island, rich in phenol compounds. 2. Peat from the Connel area, with low phenol content but heavy peat smoke. 3. Peat from the island of Macbrayne, considered to be the most aromatic of the three.
- Laphroaig is sold as whisky or as brandy (in France, Spain, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.
- There is just one tour of the Laphroaig distillery per day. And that tour is only on a Tuesday morning. You need to book the tour in advance.