Formerly a travel retail exclusive, the popularity of the Triple Wood has led to it being launched into the general market. The whisky starts off maturing in regular bourbon casks, before being moved to Laphroaig’s bespoke quarter casks for a time. The whisky is then finished in oloroso sherry casks to gently sand off any remaining sharp edges.
Nose: Overwhelmingly sweet (but not sickly sweet) oloroso sherry soaked raisins up front. Dark chocolate and almonds are joined by cocoa powder and burnt orange peel before the arrival of peat reels the sweetness back in.
Taste: Intense pear juice brings along notes of apples and a hint of cinnamon. A good measure of that signature Laphroaig peat is then thrown in for good measure and the oloroso sherry thankfully adds rather than detracts from the character.
Finish: Long with lingering notes of dark chocolate and caramel enveloped within an initially mellow mix of peat and sherry.
A heavily sherried whisky with some age on it
The Laphroaig Triple Wood is an excellent blended whisky. It is thanks to the subtle blend of Laphroaig’s peat, sherry and non-sherry casks that it brings together the three distinct elements to create something satisfyingly cohesive.
Overall this is an excellent blended whisky that manages to wear its age so well. Laphroaig continues to be a big name among single malts fans despite not having any core range expressions under 20 years old. This is thanks to the excellent whiskies it continues to release in the form of the Quarter Cask and Triple Wood.
With its core expressions not shy of 20 years old, Laphroaig is a bit of an anomaly. Its more than capable core range, coupled with its travel retail releases, means that the spirit continues to receive high scores and is generally appreciated by even its harshest of critics.
Laphroaig has been something of an unsung hero in this whisky boom that we have experienced over the past few years. But with its travel retail limited editions like the stunning Quarter Cask and Triple Wood, and its core range always selling well and often being seen as a statement of what Islay is all about, Laphroaig has been quietly carving out its own niche of popularity.
Finally an unsung hero
The secret behind Laphroaig’s success? It has a lot to do with how it has handled the changes in demand and supply in the last few years. While some distilleries have been forced to follow a reactionary path, Laphroaig has as much to do with the quality of the whisky it produces as it does the decisions it has made looking at where it wants to go. Let us hope then that the world’s love affair with Islay whisky, and specifically Laphroaig, shows no signs of fading.
If you are a fan of the Laphroaig core range, or if you are a fan of peat and sherried whiskies, the Triple Wood should definitely be a whisky to try. A great gift for fans of the distillery and a great addition to a whisky collection.
While it is not the greatest whisky I have tasted this year, it is definitely a well rounded and well matured blended whisky that would return as a favourite if bought again. If you want to experience a younger non-sherry monster then the entry level Laphroaig 10-year-old is also available at a much more affordable price. These are different experiences and make a good case for picking up both, even if they are from the same distillery.
Laphroaig Triple Wood is not a nuanced whisky. It is big, brash, and beautiful. It is far from subtle, but it is also very rounded and impressively matured. If you are looking for a high quality but accessible sherry whisky that is approachable straight from the bottle then look no further.