Laphroaig Triple Wood

So what do you do when you want to beat a competitor’s vast success with Double Wood? Simple. Triple Wood! (Although Auchentoshan beat them to it). In this case, a reasonable vatting of standard ex-bourbon Laphroaig, Laphroaig Quarter-Cask (does that really count as a separate ‘wood’?), and ex-oloroso sherry casks. The whole is bottled at a robust 48% ABV and not chill-filtered.

Nose: Slightly muted (but recognizable) Laphroaig peat, with an immediate wave of fresh red fruits. This marriage creates a distinct ‘saltwater taffy’ vibe, of the red variety. Is ‘red saltwater taffy’ a tasting note? It is now. Deeper in there’s some plum jam, piney campfire smoke, and the usual Laphroaig ‘iodine’ (which I usually read as seaweed), although less than usual.

Palate: The red fruits come to the fore, and are sweeter than I expected – Jolly Rancher style. Red ones. Also, cinnamon red-hots, campfire smoke, seaspray, and wet charcoal.

Finish: Long-ish. The red fruit thing gets a little weird here. Jammy, but smoked. Without the sweet background of malt, it just leaves a taste like burned jam behind. At the tail end, a little bitter oak charcoal and some mint.

With Water: Water sparks up the fruitiness, and adds a little tartness. It does little on the palate besides tame the burn, although it allows some sweet notes to echo into the finish, thus reducing that dissonant burned jam note I mentioned. Water does help here.

Overall: This is not as well integrated as I’d like. When I drink Laphroaig, I want the bitter coastal salt-flecked winds of Islay to batter me. I want smoke and fire and salt. I don’t really want smoky jam… but that’s me. I usually have this reaction with sherry-aged peated malt (except Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition, where it works really well, and Kilchoman Machir Bay, where it only plays a supporting role). I mean – do you personally like strawberry jam with your smoked salmon, or grape preserves with your maki sushi? Through personal bias alone, I wouldn’t buy a bottle of this, saving my money instead for the essential Laphroaig 10 year – or two! That said, die-hard Laphroaig fans will need to buy a bottle to feed the obsession, and anyone who likes smokey jam – this is your moment.

ScotchNoob™ Mark:

About The Distillery

The heavily peated Laphroaig, pronouned “La-froyg”, was established on the southern coast of Islay in the mid 1820s. Laphroaig’s medicinal, seaweedy, ‘iodine’ flavors may be derived from its local, hand-cut peat, which is used to dry malt in its own floor maltings. The local peat is more fibrous than peat used by the Port Ellen Maltings on Islay, where other Islay distilleries source their peat. Laphroaig does source 80% or more of its malt from Port Ellen, since the maltings are too small to meet all of the distillery’s demand. Process water flows via a burn from the Sholum Lochs and collects in the Kilbride Dam. The water is highly acidic, but soft. The whisky is matured on-site, mostly in ex-bourbon casks from Maker’s Mark, in both dunnage and rack warehouses.
Laphroaig Triple Wood
48% ABV
ScotchNoob™ Mark:
Price Range: $60 - $75
Acquired: (30ml sample bottle) Master of Malt.

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  • I always like seeing you review something in familiar with; it gives me a chance to see how someone else responds to a whisky.

    I wasn’t sure what to expect from this, but I really enjoyed it. The smoky jam (which is exactly how I described it to a friend) was enticing for me. Probably because it was still chilly in April when I had it; scotch like this in the warmth of the summer is a completely different experience. If you review these real-time, I’d encourage you to try it again when cooler weather returns, like late autumn. You obviously don’t have to like it but I think the experience of smoky, salty, sweet red jam, but I found it very enjoyable (in the cooler weather).

    I do agree with you, though, that if you’re just looking for the standard Laphroaig experience, this can be a disappointment (or a pleasant surprise). This was my first go at an Islay sherry malt and I found it to be the latter.

  • Had this at a Scottish pub the other night awaiting referendum results. It came on the recommendation of the bartender, a self-professed Laphroaig nut who also advised tasting this on the *middle* of the tongue rather than the tip, which made a surprisingly big impact. It was my first taste of any Laphroig, and I loved it. The sweetness and light oil coating of the sherry casks together with the signature smoky peat blast made for a complex dram that held my attention to the very last drop. Very impressed by this unique expression and I’ll definitely seek out other varieties of Laphroaig in the future. Thanks for the review!

  • I sprung for a bottle of this a year ago after falling in love with the Quarter Cask (in Ontario, Canada the QC is cheaper and much more widely available than the 10). While an interesting drink to be sure, by the time I was midway through the bottle I can’t honestly say I was enjoying it. I believe “like sucking on a medicated band-aid” were the words that most often came to mind. Gave away the bottom third of the bottle, bought the Quarter Cask again, and haven’t looked back.

  • I was slowly working on a bottle of the Triple Wood, and recently decided to try it against the Machir Bay. Your words above matched my thoughts exactly – “not as well integrated.” Machir Bay doesn’t have the brimstone or peat of the Lag, but the whole experience seems coherent, where the Lag Triple Wood seems incoherent, with the smoke and peat and sherry clashing.