Well, here’s an interesting release – a 1989 vintage Laphroaig, hand selected by the master distiller, supposedly aged in sherry casks, to suit the Scandinavian whisky palate. It had a limited release in Sweden, Norway and Finland a few months ago with 48.9% abv and a rather hefty price tag, so it’s certainly not a spirit you’d want to waste by using it in cocktails… or is it?
Nose: A deep, sweet and round aroma of ripe tropical fruit and spices dominates, and transforms into a lingering, smoky finish with a healthy, salty ocean breeze to boot. Mouth: An initial full-bodied fruity sweetness with notes of honey, bitter almond and cranberry, and a creamy, yet rather dry, long and peaty finish with hints of citrus peel and sea salt.
I’m really impressed with this complex Laphroaig bottling, which is very suitable for sipping by the fireplace during the cold Swedish winter. However, I’m not sure if the added fruitiness from the sherry casks is something I’m really looking for in an Islay whisky.
Anyway, I decided to find out how it compares to the “original” 10 yo Laphroaig in a Penicillin cocktail (60 ml J&B blended Scotch, 22 ml fresh lemon juice, 11 ml ginger syrup, 11 ml honey syrup, 7,5 ml Laphroaig – shake everything except Laphroaig with ice, strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice, float Laphroaig and garnish with candied ginger) – and both versions are very tasty but in completely different ways. In the end, the rather harsh and smoky character of the 10 yo is preferrable in this cocktail, as the 1989 vintage is too subdued to give the drink that extra dimension it’s supposed to. Well, it was worth a shot… but to be honest, it’s too expensive for cocktails anyway… 😉