All good things come to an end, and after that they come back again. It happened to Lagavulin 12yo, and it is said to happen shortly to Laphroaig 15yo. Not yet, but soon very soon though, with a special 15yo commemorating Laphroaigs 200th anniversary. Yesterdays 15yo was eventually replaced by an 18yo and by some curious coincidence we’ll be having a look at that very replacement right now. Is it a step up from the 15yo, or maybe a step down? One thing is certain, the ABV went up a few notches from 43% to 48% and the box didn’t come back. The bottle I’ll be reviewing now, is still an 18yo which looks like the release that replaced the 15yo. In 2013 the look for the 18yo was slightly revamped.
Color: Light gold.
Nose: Peaty, salty and pretty smoky. Kippers with seaside saltness. A promise of salt and smoke. Warming and vegetal. Garden bonfire, and wet freshly cut peat. Mocha. Lit fireplace in an old farmhouse. Good nose but very straightforward. You more or less get what you’ve come to expect from a modern Islay Whisky. Islay Whisky, not especially Laphroaig even. When smelled longer I also get some deeper, more meaty notes. Dried meat again, warming and salty.
Taste: Definitely more points in the ABV department (when compared to the 15yo). Again, also in taste more straightforward. Burning wood and quite sweet actually. Lots of ashes and licorice powder. Ferrero Rocher cherry bon-bon fruitiness, combined with licorice root, fatty peat and smoke. Again it is what you might expect.
This 18yo lacks the awesome specialness of the 15yo. They are both Islay and both Laphroaig, whereas the 18yo is straightforward and obvious in what you are getting but the old 15yo is much more than that. It delivers more aroma’s than the 15yo, and the delivered aroma’s are more special. The 15yo is very fruity ánd Islay, The 18yo is ónly Islay. Yesterday’s 15yo to me is a special Laphroaig, this 18yo is indeed a modern Laphroaig which doesn’t surprise, it’s decent, it’s good, but it doesn’t bring anything extra to the table anymore. Dare I say that it’s good but a bit anonymous? Is the 15yo a Whisky they can’t make anymore? I don’t mean that particular age statement…