As part of their 200th anniversary celebrations, Laphroaig released multiple exciting expressions in 2015 – from the “hero coming back home” 15 yo, through the 21 yo and up to the 32yo. The last Laphroaig expression from 2015 not yet reviewed is the 16 year old that is targeted exclusively at the Travel Retail market and it’s time to amend this!
Laphroaig 16 is the second expression this year that is bottled in half size bottles of 350ml (35cl). The first one to do so was the 21 yo that was available for FoL members and the decision deemed smart as it allows a larger crowd to buy, enjoy and take part in the 200th celebrations. Just a reminder, 35cl of 21yo would set you back £99 while a full sized bottle would be about £200 which I think would put it outside the reach of a large portion of Laphroaig fans. I know of at least 4 people who went ahead and purchased one but wouldn’t do so for 70cl and £200.
As it’s priced right now, A full size bottle of Laphroaig 16 would cost €92 which is inline with existing prices (similar to the 15 yo price), so this raises troublesome questions: is it where we’re heading for further releases from Laphroaig and the Scotch industry? Is it a scheme to hide current and future price raises?
Or maybe it’s just a way to differentiate it from the 15 yo bottle? Bah, I have no answers so I’ll stop the rant and let’s go ahead and review it.
Laphroaig 16 Year Old (Travel Retail, 43%, ~€46)
Nose: very Laphroaig-y, medicinal, sooty and sweet peat, hints of lemon, semi-dry, oak and honey. It’s not very smoky or much fruity at first but slowly the smoke get stronger intertwined with stronger honey and fruit notes and if you let it rest in the glass even further: strong and harmonized honey and fruit notes with a dash of smoke.
Palate: peat, sweet lemonade, caramelized sugared grapefruits, oak, semi-dry, soot and once again peat smoke. I like here is that the peat is not sharp or edgy like the new 15 yo. Lemon juice, white pepper, oily and salty toward the end.
Finish: Medium length, chimney smoke, charcoals, peat, a bit of salt, bitterness of oak, lingering grapefruits and lemons.
Thoughts: IMHO Laphroaig 16 is the best for-the-masses OB release of the last few years. In fact, I’d go for 2 of those half sized 16yo instead of one of the 15yo. I’d ditch the 15 yo competently in favor of the 16 yo, but I understand Laphroaig decision to bottle the 15 yo as an iconic representation in their 200th anniversary line up. Although the 16 yo isn’t as fruity, it somewhat reminds me the 21 yo and the old 15 yo even without sherry and for me it’s a buy recommendation next time you’re flying.