I needed a Laphroaig for my last Por Larrañaga post, and since the weather outside is frightful, and a whisky could be so delightful, let’s review this one properly.
The Ultimate is a Dutch bottler from Amersfoort called Han van Wees. Han handpicked this Hogshead himself (if not his son Maurice probably did). I was at his shop and Han told me personally that this Laphroaig is a must, since it reminded him of “old skool” Laphroaig. Well if this man says something like this to you, who wouldn’t buy it? So let’s see how Laphroaig tasted in the past, and if it was any good then 🙂 (please keep in mind this whisky is from 2001, you know a year we remember like it was last year).
Color: White wine.
Nose: Obviously this has the typical Islay traits. It smells like it will taste sweet. It has nice fat succulent and clean peat. The tar is there too, as well as the ash. Salty and fresh. The smoke or bonfire are very subdued in this. It’s in there but its further along the beach. I know this reads like a lot of Islay whiskies, but hey it’s from there, and we wouldn’t like our Laphroiag to smell as an Aberlour don’t we? Sniffing this profile as a whole, I notice great balance. Everything is there and nothing overwhelms. It’s not only peat or herring or rubber for that matter. It’s immediately likeable. I like the nose very much. By the way, I know it seems strange to say you smell something sweet or salty since both are tastes and not smells, but just open a jar of sugar or a container with sea salt in it, both have a certain smell.
Taste: Sweet ‘n peat. Liquorice and tar on a rope in seawater. The fresh sea wind carries seaweed. Chewing gum? Lot’s of legs in the glass. It feels classic, but is that because of what Han said? The finish is ever so slightly bitter and ashy and slightly less balanced and less sweet than the top and the middle notes. That’s probably because of its youth.
Yeah! Laphroaig! This is stunning quality at 8 years old. Can you believe I only paid 40 Euro’s for this? That’s getting a lot for your money. It’s a bang-for-your-buck, just like the Laphroaig 10yo cask strength versions of yesteryear (green and red stripe versions). Last but not least, this whisky is uncolored and unchillfiltered.
The picture of the bottle is for a 6yo refill butt version, the reviewed whisky is lighter in color. Label is identical, just with some differences in the small print, you can’t read anyway.