Peat lovers, or peat freaks, as they are lovingly referred to, are pretty much the closest to opiate addicts as you can get in the whisky community. There is a strange thing that happens in your brain when you first try a hefty peated scotch. If you do not immediately take to it, your first sensations upon nosing something like that might resemble a tarry, freshly paved road with seaweed with maybe a vegetal bog that’s on fire with maybe smoke from an industrial garage. This may not strike you as a pleasing experience. It might just smell awful. My first time was. I didn’t touch the stuff for years after that. Yet, there are some who right away, or maybe over time, come to absolutely adore this stuff. They even get obsessed. Fiercely loyal. And they want more of it.
Like opiate addicts, they need to find the bigger score, the bigger high, because our sensory perceptions, guided and interpreted by our brain, can be adjusted and evolved over time. That same peated scotch you tried so many years ago that nearly killed you due to the aroma may be quite tame for the time being. So bottles like Ardbeg Supernova and Octomore, both with peating levels north of 200ppm, attract peat freaks like you wouldn’t believe while frightening the rest of the sane populace. For lovers of the mighty peated Scotch brand of Laphroaig, their Cask Strength bottling presents a sadistic opportunity to relish and revel in this peaty frivolity if the normal 10 doesn’t hit you like it once did.
Laphroaig boasts the highest post distillation ppm level of the mainstream Islay bottlings (excluding special or limited releases). Today’s selection is the standard 10 year old non chill-filtered and bottled at 58.8% ABV. When I found this at the store I nearly wept for joy, for the standard 10 year old is not as peat amazing as it used to be, and I’m always looking for the next big fix. And here it is….
Nose- Not as in your face as you might expect. Medicinal hits. Smoked BBQ and earthy grass. Plum, apple crisp, tempered vanilla, dark stone fruits. The peat is there, obviously, but supplemented quite wonderfully.
Taste- Peaty, marshy, grassy. Oily texture and full. Lovely and smoky.
Finish- With smoke, salt. Tobacco and slightly woody. Slight mint. Medium to long.
Comment- Excellent, full nose. Peat lovers will rejoice, peat haters will cower in fear. All in all, we enjoyed it thoroughly and we think you will too.
SWC Rating- 89/100