Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength series is a Laphroaig series dearly loved by me, Laphroaig fans and peat lovers generally. I had the honor to taste and review all the batches out there with a review of batch 013 published just a few months ago.
In that review I mentioned my surprise on the release of batch 014 since up to this batch we were getting them once a year like a clock and suddenly there’s 014 a mere few months after the release of batch 013. It may be related to John Campbell leaving the distillery after serving as the distillery manager for 16 years but we don’t know for sure the reasons behind this release. Maybe there was higher than expected demand for CS Laphroaig?
In addition there was a US label for batch 015, but I strongly suspect it’s the same as batch 014 with the same ABV and bottling month but it can be a different beast so we’ll have to taste and verify it if and when it’s out 😉
So back to batch 014 which sticks to the same ol’ successful formula of previous versions: matured in ex-Bourbon barrels for 10 years and then bottled at cask strength of 58.6%.
Laphroaig 10 Year Old Cask Strength Batch 014 (58.6%, £71.95)
Nose: Sweet, getting sweeter and in fact it’s the sweetest peat smoke I ever had in this series. No dry ashes (and that’s a big advantage for those like me who love the older profile of Laphroaig), medicinal, bandages and plasters, sweet oak wood extracts (just like in rums), so there’s active casks influence here, smoked meat, pears and apricots, wet ashes and eventually, finally, after a while some dry stringent ashes.
Palate: Sweet, sweet wood extracts, sweet toffee and caramel, burnt oak, peat smoke, stringent, salt, coastal, honey, vanilla, smoked meat, peat and coals smoke.
Finish: long, sweet wood, coastal with iodine and salt, wet peat, oak spices.
Thoughts: As a veteran fan of Laphroaig I very much like the less ashy profile presented in this batch and it marks somewhat fundamental change (a positive one for me) from its predecessors. However, this batch has also a series drawback – the appearance of the sweet wood here is a downer for me – I dislike this note, especially in exorbitant amounts. If you aren’t bothered by the sweet wood flavors, it’s probably the best Laphroaig 10 CS release of the last decade. If you don’t like it (like me), it’s a so-so batch and personally I’d prefer 013 over it anyday, anytime.