Sometimes I get the chance to try something really nice at a bar or restaurant, but I don’t have the time to write notes (or enough whisky in the glass, if I’m having a sip of someone else’s), nor do I have the opportunity to test it with a few drops of water, as I usually do at home. Sometimes, too, a dram comes at the end of a night of congenial dramming and my notes become a bit too scrambled and… well, drunken to use as a full-blown review on this blog. In fact, I’m somewhat dreading an upcoming trip to WhiskyFest San Francisco – my first-ever whisk(e)y festival – because I’m likely to end up with one or two coherent-but-short reviews followed by five or six completely unintelligible ones. Hardly worth the price of admission.
My choice, when faced with such a tasting note, is either to plan to come back to the whisky and re-taste it sometime in the future, or to post what I’ve got and move on. Today will be one of the latter.
I had a sip of a buddy’s glass of Laphroaig 18. I didn’t quite know what to expect. My only other experience with age differences in the same whisky was Macallan 12 and 18. With those whiskies, the 18 is obviously smoother, richer, more concentrated, and tastes a great deal more like the oak of the barrel. Some of the younger “bright fruit” or “fresh fruit” flavors have become “cooked fruit” or “jammy”. With Laphroaig, the parallel isn’t exact. The bright, acidic, salty Laphroaig peat is not in any way smoothed, muted, or mellowed. Instead, there is a bit more nuttiness from the increased time in cask (similar to the Quarter Cask expression). Additionally, there are some extra notes of salted caramel and maple sugar candies, which may have been compounded flavors from cask and elder peat, or they could have been my imagination. Hard to tell with one sip. The finish is, as expected, campfire and roasted chestnuts over said campfire. At any rate, it was delicious. Try it if you like Laphroaig and don’t mind shelling out $90 to $100 ish for a bottle.