Second of March and it’s still winter over here. Days starting with scraping ice from car windows and the occasional slippery road. Now and then a faint, watery sunshine and even a snowflake was spotted this year (luckily). Since this is primarily a blog about Whisky, why not try seven Islay Whiskies for conditions like this? Seven I hear you say? Yes you understood correctly. You know what that means, another Master Quill Week! I already mentioned Islay, but what are we going to do with Islay? Not too long ago we already shared a Bowmore Week, and yes, now it’s time for another week about a single distillery (from Islay). This time we’ll be focussing on Laphroaig, as you already might have guessed considering the sign above. Why another Islay Distillery? Simple, because I felt like it! But it’s not ony that. 2015 marks the 200th anniversary of Laphroaig! Up untill now three Laphroaigs graced these pages with their presence. At first an independent bottling by The Ultimate, next up was the official 30yo and last, but alas also least, the new Laphroaig NAS named ‘Select’. These three are a selection of official and independent Laphroaigs, a selection of Bourbon and Sherry casks. This week will be no different. Today we’ll have a look at the boxed version of the 15yo. In 2006 Laphroaig replaced the box for a tube, and I’m guessing this example is probably from just before that time. Color: Ocher gold. Nose: Ahhh great fruity peat. Yellow and red fruits. Black coal. Coal dust and ever so slightly tarry. Small hints of vanilla ice-cream. A truly fantastic nose. Just the nose alone shows you that Whiskies like this can’t be made anymore. Maybe this is an older expression of the 15yo (bottled before 2005)? Slightly burnt wire and steam. Hints of cooked vegetables emerge over time. Taste: Sweet, clay and fruity again. Not very peaty and the taste is much simpler than the nose was. Hints of almond shavings and a kind of delayed warming sensation. Elegant and pretty old tasting peat. Part of this Whisky must come from older casks. Crushed beetle, and cask toast in the finish. Burnt wood. Almonds ánd Amaretto combined with some sugared yellow fruits. Cancel my remark about (the lack of) complexity. Not true. It needed some time to develop. Given even some more time the fruitiness develops more and more into Amaretto and the peat develops into a wonderful kind of peat, ashes and a little bit of smoke. Top notch! Extremely different from my first love from around that time, the 10yo at export strength (43% ABV). Remember the 20cl hip-flask bottle? This 15yo is a lot more elegant and nicely crafted. Utterly complex and a wonderful companion to that 10yo. I haven’t even mentioned the cask strength version of the 10yo from that time. What a trio that was. Life was good back then! By the way, Laphroaig will be releasing several one-off special bottling commemorating their 200th anniversary and supposedly one of them will be a 15yo. Hope it is anything like this boxed 15yo.