Ian Hunter, the last owner of the distillery belonging to the founders family went to Jamaica, to gather knowledge about the art of maturation. The key-point of this process is using different types of wood casks, which brings various flavours to the distillate. Later on, he went to Kentucky to learn more about the secrets of aging whisky in the American oak barrels. He noticed then that the American oak would match the character of Laphroaig better than the European oak, in which sherry matures first.
At the turn of the 1940s and 1950s, Laphroaig launched something new – the use of American oak barrels, as well as Sherry casks, which gave the drink a different character.
A typical example for such an art is described by me today, Laphroaig Select. The distillery cultivates this tradition of experimenting and now we are dealing with Whisky, which matured in five different types of oak casks.
Laphroaig means „hollowed out by a great bay”
Scotch Single Malt
Heavily peated 35-45 PPM
Matured in five types of casks:
First-fill bourbon casks,
Sherry Pedro Ximenez,
the last six months it’s been finished in new American oak barrels
Color: fairly bright amber. The most important thing is that it’s NATURAL! No artificial caramel has been added
Nose: vanilla pudding, butterscotch, smoke, wood, flour, raisins, glue, wood, mown grass, red pepper grains, sea breeze, pears, ripe raspberries, boiled rice, earl grey. A rich and varied scent, but not as pleasant as you would expect from such a selection of casks used for the maturation. 21/25
Palate: strong black tea, smoke, cocoa, pumpernickel, peanut butter, white chalk, grappa, dried bananas, jasmine rice, dried apricots. Alcohol is well hidden. 21/25
Finish: surprisingly gentle. Smoke, plum jam, ripe pears, cappuccino. Short as for peaty Whisky. 19/25
Balance: you can feel the richness and variety of used barrels. I’m not convinced by new barrels in which nothing has matured before. They give such a strange, flourish aroma (although it suited me in the outfit of Scapa Skiren). Generally … a bit weak, diluted Whisky. There is no drama, but it’s the weakest Laphroaig, of all I have tried. The natural color deserves a plus. 20.5 / 25
Overall: 81.5 / 100
Milerpije (2016): 80/100
whiskyfun (2014): 70/100
Price: approx. EUR 25. It is not worth giving more.
I bought two bottles at a price of 25 € per piece in Germany in Netto. For such price, I recommend.
If you see it for EUR 35 or more, it’s not worth it, it’s better to buy the 10 year old version, or the Quarter Cask, which I personally find a lot better.
Laphroaig Select, however, has something interesting to offer and it’s worth to get to know its taste.
More pictures here