One of the icons of the whisky world, Islay’s Laphroaig 10 Years Old is a longstanding benchmark against which many other competing bottlings are compared. And yet the only coverage we have of this expression dates back to a brief look in 2008. When we recently got pitched by the brand, we figured we were well overdue for a fresh, full writeup.
And so, let’s dive right into this iconic Islay.
Looking at Laphroaig 10 with fresh eyes, I have to say it’s surprisingly restrained for an Islay malt. The peat on the nose is more than evident, but it’s balanced by a range of aromas that includes white pepper, bacon, and sweet cake frosting, giving it an instant complexity. The palate is quite heavy with fruit, and this sweetness is what really hits you first. There’s a big rush of sugar and red fruit, some raisins, and enduring baking spice before the peat grabs hold of your tongue. The finish finds the smoke fading and a honeyed, almost maple, character working as a sort of soothing balm to all that’s been going on.
Not nearly as “challenging” as my primitive review might have led you to believe, Laphroaig 10 today drinks almost like an introduction to Islay, a whisky where the peat is present but which doesn’t overwhelm the other elements of the spirit. Definitely an easy go-to selection for your holiday fireside dram.