Distiller: Laphroaig. Region: Islay. ABV: 40%. No age statement. Price: $50-60.
As most Axis readers will know, I’m an Islay malt fanatic. For me, these whiskies are the pinnacle of the craft. Drinks that draw from the land for both inspiration and history. The kind that force contemplation of nature with every sip. And lately, there’s so much great stuff coming from Islay. From Ardbeg’s Dark Cove to the ongoing great work by Bruichladdich to the ever impressive Lagavulin Distiller’s Editions, these distilleries continue to innovate, while also honoring their heritage. And no one’s doing it better these days than Laphroaig.
I reviewed the Laphroaig Lore some months back and adored every sip, although (spoiler alert) I loved the Cairdeas 2016 even more. That’s vaulted into one of my all-time favorites–and a review is forthcoming.
But it would be a shame if the Laphroaig Select got lost in the glories of the Cairdeas and the Lore. It’s not a traditional Laphroaig, to be sure. It’s softer, which you’d expect from a whisky that finishes the standard 10-year-old in new American Oak, then blends in the Quarter Cask, the PX, and the Triple Wood, adding some Oloroso sherry influence. Think of it as the end of a summer beach bonfire. There’s smoke, but it’s easy to digest and it heralds the advent of fall and richness coming from the earth.
Okay, enough with the poetry. On to the review. There’s oh-so subtle peat on the nose, along with ripe plum and a hint of dry oak. The palate, initially, was underwhelming, but as I’ve enjoyed more of the bottle, its beauty has blossomed. There’s the most delicate peat imaginable, along with marzipan, slight citrus, and rich oak. And befitting a Laphroaig, there’s oak and sherry on the beautifully sustained finish.
I know there are reasons that hardcore Islay fans may dismiss this one as “Laphroaig Light,” but to me it’s a wonderfully divergent strain of a whisky that I’ll never tire of trying.
Cheers, friends! – TM
A company representative graciously provided a sample for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.