Laphroaig 18 Year Old - One of the Great Ones from Islay

Laphroaig 18 Year Old
Laphroaig Distillery
Taste Score: 94.5
Category: Single malt scotch, Peated, 18 Years Old
Whisky Cabinet Score: ★ ★ ★ ★

Laphroaig 18 is a favourite of mine. It wasn’t long ago that you could find this release for around $75 in the United States. At that price point, it’s an insanely great buy, and quite frankly we’ll likely not ever see it sold so cheaply. While the product is largely discontinued, you might still find supplies of it in 2016 before it’s officially gone.

Like many distilleries in Scotland, Laphroaig is having trouble keeping up with the demand. The 18 year old is being dropped in favour of the 15. Already, one could see the quality of Laphroaig 18 slipping. I tasted a recently opened bottle from five years ago, and compared it to the bottle I purchased last year. Both were delicious, and easily favourites, but the older bottled Laphroaig 18 had that extra oomph. While this latest release might lose a few points, it’s still a damn good peated scotch.

If you’re a fan of complex peated whiskies, get a bottle before it’s completely gone. You won’t regret the purchase.

Nose: Smoky. Malty dough, lemon citrus, lots of minerals, and oyster-like brine. The sweeter heavier notes come through a little later, with dried fruits and pie crust.

Palate: Wonderfully rich buttery flavour is predominant from start to finish, with high youthful zest that commands the middle of the palate. Christmas cake dry fruits are predominant, and while they're heavy, they're also complimented with a vibrancy of the spice. A wonderful melted caramel sits throughout the palate. It's a malty whisky, with the compliment of peated barley, and nice buttery dough notes throughout. The finish continues in this wonderful complex symphony, getting dryer and smokier toward the end.

Conclusion: In a whisky world filled with peated bombs and high-proof bourbons, it's rare to find an older single malt scotch this wonderfully complex. Few whiskies reach the level of flavour of Laphroaig 18. It's discontinued, I realize, and that makes this review all the sadder. You can, however, probably still find this. When you do, buy it. 

*Whisky Cabinet Rating Explained:
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆  Not recommended
★ ☆ ☆ ☆  Good whisky, but not a ‘must-have’
★ ★ ☆ ☆  Your great regular rotation whisky that'll come and go
★ ★ ★ ☆  Excellent, a near must-have
★ ★ ★ ★  Extraordinary, memorable, and original