An Independent Bottling of Laphroaig 6 year: Signatory Un-chillfiltered

Laphroaig 6.5 year Un-chillfiltered, bottled by Signatory (dist. 2000)

Maturation: refill sherry butt
Cask no. 3671; Bottle 104/726
Alc/vol: 46%
Color: yellowish-amber
Legs: med-large beads, slow drip
Nose: big chocolatey peat at the fore, with oats and hay, then flowers, and finally a healthy slice of pecan pie
Palette: the peat and semi-sweet chocolate combo remains up front and dry, with a considerable chalk-eraser dusting of smoke on the mid-palette, balanced by an oatmeal maltiness and a hint of rhubarb tartness. All with a touch of medical bandaging woven throughout.
Body: big body; very dry, nearly powder
Finish: warming, long, with the powdery mouthfeel persisting
Overall: while not quite as phenolic or salty as the OB 10 year, smokier and peatier, perhaps. Deliciously dry, with a farms-at-sunset flavor. The sherry mixes in subtly, as if it imparted a hint of sweetness and then escaped quickly. A rival to the Quatercask, though not as complex. Only a scintilla of transmogrification by the sherry refill butt, this is very young Laphroaig at its best.
Score: 8.8/10

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Best in Blog: New Tasting Notes from the Whiskysphere

Did you know that May is Scotch Whisky Month? The Scotts have all the luck . . . I think we here in the States should officially declare May whisky month as well (not least because it’s my b-day in a few weeks and a few local dram festivals around my birthday sounds perfect).

Some of our favorite whisky blogs have new tasting notes posted. Be sure to check out these links on a lazy Sunday:

  • The Whisky Exchange Blog has tasting notes on yet another independent bottling of a cult favorite: Old Bothwell Port Ellen 1982 Cask 2729.
  • Malt Advocate’s John Hansell notes that the Highland Park 21 Year Old is going to drop from 47.5% ABV to 40% ABV. He advises HP fans to buy their bottle at the traditional ABV now while they still can.
  • WhiskyFun has two new tastings on their website: a comparison of two unusual blends, and an EXCELLENT post comparing four Laphroaig 18 Year Olds. Those of you stateside will likely know that the Laphroaig 15 year old (my favorite) is being discontinued and the 18 year old will soon take it’s place, retailing at about $100. In this post, he compares the new Official Bottling to three independent bottlings from Hart Brothers, Signatory and Berry Bros. Rudd.

youth to power, or too powerful?

Here’s an article we liked about the new prevalence of younger whiskies among distillery expressions:
Four Year Old Whisky Comes of Age.

I think this is a great trend. Laphroaig is on top of it with the genius of the Quatercask bottling (a vatting of whiskies 5-9 years of age). These younger, (sometimes) cheaper bottles balance out the trend toward rising prices in general.

But I think it is indicative of several things:

    1. whisky is more popular overall, and since the response-time of the industry to trends is considerable (eg, Laphroaig just now released its response to the ca. 1990 popularity of the Macallan 18), having a ready supply of whisky is critical while the whisky boom lasts.
    2. more people are more familiar with whisky and whisky appreciation; whereas folks used to judge a whisky by its age (due to lack of understanding, often), now the informed whisky consumer knows that age is not the determining factor of a whisky’s quality.
    3. And yes, more care is being put into younger whiskies than might have been a long time ago (again, see Quatercask, Ardmore Traditional Cask, etc). Wood has been much more carefully considered over the past half-century, enough that distilleries are realizing that just a few years is enough to round out the spirit in the right kind of cask.

I’m a fan, but what about those high-priced, premium young whiskies (the Supernovas, Port Charlottes, and Octomores)? Gimmickry, or simply the high-end of the young-whisky market and worth the cash?

Comment request: your favorite whiskies 9 years old and younger.

Also, stay tuned for a review of some young Laphroaigs later in the week.