After Tuesday’s review of the ever-excellent Lagavulin 16 year old, it seemed like a fair idea to stay with the Islay whiskies for one more dram and head just a mile up the road to Laphroaig distillery, the Island’s best-selling single malt. Laphroaig is often said to polarise opinion with its profoundly medicinal, phenolic spirit frequently confounding Whisky newcomers, while cultivating a loyal following of initiated devotees. There are some of us though that have less overtly partisan feelings about the distillery, enjoying a number of bottlings and certainly not being adverse the spirit’s brazen, intense character, whilst also not being so enamoured as to view it as the undisputed king of peated whiskies.
Laphroaig’s core range has developed a reputation for its consistency over the last few years, with the Laphroag 10 year old and Quarter Cask expressions being very reliable and well worth exploring. However, the consistency of quality also means that cask strength expressions from the independent bottlers have been a pretty safe bet for some time. For fans of the distillery wishing to experience a less “branded” or even “tamed” (40%abv and/or chill-filtered) version of Laphroaig there are a plethora of credible options on the market. This bottling from the recently introduced Archives series is one such option, and if the other new releases in their range are anything to go by this should be a good example.