Taste Score: 94
Category: Single malt scotch, Peated, NAS
Whisky Cabinet Score: ★ ★ ★ ☆
Laphroaig Lore is offers an unapologetic rush of flavors from a complex mixture of matured whisky. On paper, I would have called the concept behind this whisky a gimmick, but in tasting, the results are worthy of the ticket price.
Laphroaig Lore is one of a handful of no-age statement releases from the distillery, but this one (unlike the Quarter Cask) isn't cheap at $125 US. Whisky enthusiasts tend to get put-off by expensive scotch without a guarantee of age. And yet, Laphroaig can do no wrong.
Distillery Manager, John Campbell, produced a whisky deserving of a thunderous applause. The success behind this whisky is a grand step away from age statements to expanded cask usage. John Campbell mixed 21 year old barrels of scotch with much younger scotch, all from various types of casks:
- 7 year old American oak ex-bourbon casks
- 9 year old American oak ex-bourbon casks
- Various fully aged whisky from quarter-casks
- New European oak casks
- Ex-Oloroso European casks
- 21 year old American oak ex-bourbon casks
Youthful whisky helps ensure the heaviness of the peat smoke (the older the whisky, the more the peat dies down). The 21 year old American ex-bourbon casks are likely to add would spice, heavy vanillas, and a rounded depth of complexity. Quarter-cask matured scotch ages more rapidly (it's about half the size of an American barrel), adding loads of sweet vanilla notes on black pepper spice. European oak typically adds dry fruit notes and a dry finish.
Laphroaig Lore continues in the trend of big success coming from Laphroaig Distillery. As the marketing slogan successfully amplifies, this isn't about polite whisky, but about whisky that people will have an opinion on. If you enjoy soft, subtle, unpeated scotches, pass this one by. However, if you want to try a truly excellent high-proof peated scotch, Laphroaig Lore is a fantastic buy.
Nose: A sweet smoky doughy mess with freshly speckled cinnamon and some lime for zest. The richness continues to come through underneath the layer of smouldering fire. The specific notes on the nose are typical for this type of scotch: peat, iodine, caramel, lime zest, vanilla, butter, and dried fruits. Everything, though, is so much more intense.
Palate: Many scotches hit the palate in three steps, but this one hits the palate in three layers. It's rich, buttery sweetness on the lower-level, then spicy zest in the middle layer, and finally that smokiness comes through from the peat. Each sip is a burst of all three. The spice is on the cinnamon side, with some dark pepper. The sweetness comes from that dark chocolate, dried fruits, and pie crust. The fatty notes are buttery and cake-y. The smoke edges toward char on the palate, such as charred carrots. The start is wonderfully intense, and the finish doesn't let up.
Conclusion: A volatile single malt scotch from a distillery that knows how to do volatile. Give this whisky a little time to breath before the first sip. It settles down beautifully, and hits you with all the right flavours that peated scotch drinkers enjoy.