My first review of one of the 'heavy hitters' of Islay, Laphroaig's Triple Wood is a relatively mild bottling from this distillery, known for it's heavy peat and love/hate medicinal / iodine notes. Non-age-statement, but rumoured to be the same age as the Quarter cask expression (approx. 8 years)
Laphroaig also have a 'friends of Laphroaig' program which is an excellent bonus, with your bottle purchase you receive the opportunity to claim a lifetime lease on one square foot of land on Islay, and when you visit the distillery you may collect your rent, a dram of Laphroaig! They also give you a nice certificate of ownership to hang on the wall.
Laphroaig Triple Wood, 48%, No Age Statement, Islay.
Un-chill-filtered, some colouring added (likely just for consistency between batches), aged in bourbon casks, then quarter casks (smaller casks, giving more wood contact), finished in Oloroso sherry casks.
Colour: Light gold
Texture: Surprisingly light and clean, average legs.
Nose: Salty sea air, sweet wood smoke & oak, light smoke, medicinal, slight iodine, musty / dusty note, like an old leather bound book.
Palate: Smoke, light medicinal/iodine (much less than 10yo), smooth with mild salted caramel, musty / dusty note from the nose, nutty oaky sweetness fades early leaving smoke and peat behind.
Finish: Surprisingly short and clean, drying peat, sea spray, slight oaky vanilla.
Score: 3 out of 5.
Comments: Honestly my least favourite Laphroaig bottling (up until recently, see below!), the sherry finish seems to take away from the experience rather than add to it. Still a decent drop and identifiable as Laphroaig, but loses the complexity and depth of the quarter cask (surprising since it shares the same ageing with an extra step), and the punch of the aggressive 10yo. In my opinion, not worth the extra cost over the quarter cask, which is the pick of the bunch, short of the fantastic PX cask, and wonderful but expensive 18yo.
On to a slightly sour note, as I am one of the Friends of Laphroaig, I received a marketing email recently from the distillery unveiling their new release, 'Select Cask' (possibly called 'Select' in other countries). It started off well, with a new ageing technique including white oak, and the email exclaimed they have not added any colouring as the friends requested, but then it is all ruined.
It is bottled at only 40% ABV! What a shame, I cannot understand why they would water this down lower than all their other expressions. Hardly a 'craft presentation', maybe they're trying to get to the non-peat-head customers? Having tried this at a recent whisky festival, I was truly disappointed with how thin & weak the mouth feel was, losing practically all of it's texture and punch, I imagine with any extra water it would not hold up at all. This might have been a winner at 48% in line with most of their bottlings, and it's priced above the standard 10yo expression, which is also bottled at 40%, but with no age statement. Won't be buying this one I'm afraid.
Click HERE for Laphroaig Triple wood at SM Whisky Australia, at a great price, and with free shipping!
-Coming next week is my review of Ardbeg Ardbog, last year's Ardbeg Day release, in time for Ardbeg Day on the 31st!-