Review: Laphroaig 18 Years Old Scotch Whisky

This year, Laphroaig bids farewell to its 15 year old Scotch and replaces it with one of slightly higher maturity (and perhaps a bit more coin): Laphroaig 18 Years Old.

It’s quite an interesting malt from the Islay-based distiller, more mature and refined than the younger Laphroaig, which is invariably so heavy on the peat smoke that it’s hard to pick out additional characteristics.

In the 18 Year, that peat influence has thankfully mellowed a bit, letting Islay’s other sea-influenced characteristics seep through. You’ll get lots of iodine and saltiness in this single malt, with a big blast of seaweed up front. There’s a surprising sweetness here too, honey-like in character, but it’s not cloying. There’s even a curious touch of lemony citrus I picked out after letting it breathe in the glass for half an hour. It all finishes up with that famous Laphroaig peat, moderate in finish and not burning at all despite its 96 proof alcohol level.

All in all, perhaps my favorite Laphroaig expression to date.

A- / $100 / laphroaig.com


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16 Responses

  1. J. Lindsey January 14, 2010 / 2:37 pm

    Going to be sad to see the 15 yo go. It’s the best value in Islay I can get where I live, right at $40 a bottle. Would a good substitute be Bowmore 12 or Caol Ila? Sadly no Bunnahabhain in MS that I’ve been able to find.

  2. J. Lindsey January 15, 2010 / 8:46 am

    Chris- I had some Ardbeg at an Irish pub while I was visiting California – amazing, but I’m not sure which expression it was. The bottle was hidden on the top shelf of the bar and looked pretty old. Their bartender turned out to be an Islay fan too. Also not available around here, I’m afraid. Or Black Bottle, which knocked my socks off too.

  3. J. Lindsey January 15, 2010 / 9:17 am

    Wait, my mistake – I had Ardmore, not Ardbeg. I do remember the bottle having an eagle on it.

  4. Christopher Null January 15, 2010 / 10:53 am

    J – I have an Ardmore review up here… very different than Laphroaig but a good Scotch! But yeah, try Ardbeg — the entry level bottle is very affordable.

  5. The Liquor Reviewer January 15, 2010 / 8:19 pm

    Laphroaig 15 for $40?! That’s a fantastic deal…somehow I’m having trouble feeling too sorry for you! Agreed on Ardbeg – the 10 year is fantastic, and even more aggressively peaty than Laphroaig 10 (it’s up to you to decide whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing). Caol Ila and Bowmore are also both good – I think that the Caol Ila might be closer to what you’re looking for.

  6. J. Lindsey January 16, 2010 / 12:44 pm

    Thanks Liquor Reviewer. My local store has a bottle of the Caol Ila 12 but I’ve been on the fence about getting it for months. Might finally take the plunge now, since I don’t seem to be able to find Ardbeg here.

  7. Nimb-rod March 24, 2010 / 9:18 am

    J Lindsey– where do you live that still has Laphroaig 15 for $40? I would like to place my order.

  8. Frank R April 26, 2010 / 5:29 am

    Found this at a local store in Austin this weekend. Was shocked at the price (I think it was $65 cash or $69 credit). Was expecting to see $100+ and when i saw the price tag i snatched it up. Last bottle there too

  9. Daniel July 21, 2010 / 4:42 pm

    I just got 2 bottles of the 18yo and have finally tried it, I love it and will use it for more of a go-to scotch with my 30yo bottle for the super special occasions. I am going to be reviewing it on my website also….I already have a few reviews on my blog and I think any scotch lover will love to read them…..cheers!

    http://blog.dalucastraps.com/ and http://www.DaLucaStraps.com

    -Daniel

  10. Anonymous December 21, 2010 / 10:30 am

    The Laphroaig 18 is $50-60 in Minnesota.

  11. eagle April 28, 2011 / 6:04 am

    And it is for $80 in New York..

  12. packy April 28, 2011 / 6:20 pm

    No it is for $60 in new york.

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