Whisky Review #42 – Laphroaig Triple Wood

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Intro – I have had many different expressions from Laphroaig. Triple Wood was the 4th expression that I tried. I started with the standard 10 year, then went to Quarter Cask, then the 10 year old Cask Strength before trying the Triple Wood. Triple Wood is matured like  Quarter Cask but is finished in sherry casks for added complexity. Bottled at 48% and Non-Chill Filtered. No Age Statement. Nothing noted on the bottle about added coloring so we can assume they color this one to keep it consistent. Retails around $55-$60 in my area.

****Reviewed neat on 12/15/2016****


Nose – deep caramel, heavy sherry, minty…reminds me of a crisp winter morning, medicinal, smoke, light pepper, overripe berries, minty toothpaste mixed with glue, smoked dark fruits, vanilla and caramel flows throughout with sherry dancing in & out, dusty garage smells in the middle of winter. Spectacular nose.

Taste – sweet, caramel, quick dark fruits, super sweet sherry blast, spicy, dark chocolate,smoke

Finish – pepper, smoke, sweet wood, slight sherry undertones that only contribute – they do not dominate. classic Laphroaig finish.

Favorite Part – The Nose. *50+ whiskies into my whisky journey…this is my favorite nose.*

Conclusion – Triple Wood is my favorite expression from Laphroaig’s standard line. Some people don’t rate it too highly but for some reason it ticks all the right boxes for me. The sherry is not dominate but it adds interesting and complex notes to the Laphroaig character. Even though it is made the same way Quarter Cask is, it doesn’t have that overly woody character to it that turns me off so much with Quarter Cask. It reminds more of the 10 year then the Quarter Cask because of the sweetness and caramel. Non Age Statement whisky can be good…it can even be a favorite.

Rating91/100

  • Presentation – 4/5
  • Nose – 25/25
  • Taste – 32/35
  • Finish – 22/25
  • Value – 8/10
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Whisky Review #41 -Ardbeg 10

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Intro – Ardbeg 10 was the first smoky whisky I ever tried. I purchased it after my first bottle – Tomatin 12 and my second bottle – Glenfiddich 12. I did my research and found that Ardbeg 10 was a highly recommended smoky whisky from the Islay region of Scotland. Back then I found it quite ridiculous to pay $50 for a bottle of liquor. Fast forward 2 years and I only wish I could find a bottle I want to try for under $50. Back then I remember being blown away by Ardbeg 10 and it really launched me into my whisky journey. This is my 2nd bottle of Ardbeg 10 which I picked up in an “Exploration Pack” which came with a sample bottle of Ardbeg Corryveckan and Ardbeg Uigeadail. Click those links for the reviews. Ardbeg 10 is between $45-$50 in my area. 46% ABV, Non Chill-Filtered and Natural Color.

****Reviewed neat on 12/01/2016****


Nose – citrus, cream, custard, white pepper, smoke, medicinal, mint, soft vanilla and caramel, light and delicate fruit notes…surrounded by cream & smoke. Easy to nose with no strong alcohol burn. I could smell this for 30 minutes before taking a sip. Complex, intriguing and enjoyable nose.

Taste – vanilla cream, very sweet arrival, thicker fruit notes then the nose but lighter on the citrus…there is a darker fruit I can’t pick out, a lot of pepper, caramel, licorice, smoke, easy to sip…slight burn.

Finish – pepper, smoke, slightly sweet but the smoke dominates. medium finish.

Favorite Part – The Nose.

Conclusion – While the taste does follow the nose for the most part, it falls short in my opinion. I usually get a lot more out of the nose of a whisky then the taste, this one is no different. That said it is very tasty and easy to sip. I find it to be much lighter then Laphroaig 10 and with more delicate fruit notes. The complexity on the nose is great but the taste doesn’t compare to the taste my favorite standard Islay whisky, Laphroaig 10. Ardbeg 10 is priced well and gives a great show. I have no problem recommending it to people who want to try a smoky whisky from Islay. Ardbeg 10 probably won’t ever be a staple in my whisky cabinet but it is well worth the experience.

Rating – 80/100

  • Presentation – 5/5
  • Nose – 22/25
  • Taste – 27/35
  • Finish – 18/25
  • Value – 8/10

Whisky Review #39 – Laphroaig Quarter Cask

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Intro – Considered by many whisky drinkers to be one of the strongest expressions from Laphroaig. Quarter Cask is a No Age Statement (NAS) whisky which has been matured in standard ex-bourbon and then transferred to smaller quarter casks. These smaller casks allow for quicker maturation. Bottled at 48% and unchill-filtered. Nothing on the packaging about being natural colored so I assume they add color. This was my 2nd expression of Laphroaig after having the standard 10 year old. This is my 2nd bottle of Quarter Cask I have purchased. $45 to $50 in my area.

****Reviewed neat on 10/19/2016****

Nose – vanilla, smoke, caramel, wood, dusty apples, licorice, sweet grass, pepper, dirty rubber tires – Nice balance of sweet and smoke.

Taste – sweet, spicy, vanilla, woody, pepper, smoke, caramel, young and in your face, taste bud abuser – Not as sweet on the taste as the nose.

Finish – licorice, a lot of wood, pepper, smoke – shorter finish then I expected.

Favorite Part – The Nose.

Conclusion –  The nose is very balanced and enjoyable. The sweet notes mingle well with that smokey Laphroaig character. The taste has the same notes as the nose but they are not as intense. The taste is still very enjoyable. The finish is quite short to me…maybe because I drink a lot of smokey whisky. One thing I don’t enjoy about this whisky compared to the standard 10 year old is the overly woody finish. Its almost a sickly wood finish. It’s the same flavor I get in what I would call “over-oaked” whisky. Meaning they left the whisky in the quarter casks too long…that’s just my opinion. I prefer the 10 year old to the Quarter Cask.  I’d love to see a 6-8 year old Laphroaig matured in ex-bourbon with no quarter casks involved. I recommend this if you like smokey whisky. It is priced well, consistent and highly regarded.

 

Rating –  79/100

  • Presentation – 4/5
  • Nose – 21/25
  • Taste – 28/35
  • Finish – 18/25
  • Value – 8/10

Whisky Review #21 – Bunnahabhain 12

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Intro – Bunnahabhain is not your typical Islay distillery. They aren’t known for their smokey/peaty whisky like the rest of the Islay distilleries. Although in the past year or so they have been releasing peated expressions. Bunnahabhain 12 is sherry cask matured with (to me) no noticeable peat influence. Bunnahabhain is truly the gentler side of Islay. The 12 year old is on my  list of whiskies have been bought more then once. I remember playing Yahtzee with my daughter one night and having far too much. Bunnahabhain 12 is bottled at 46.3%, Natural color and Un-Chillfiltered. Paid about $45. ***A side note – My first bottle of Bunnahabhain had a bad cork. It wasn’t very tight and was leaving cork on the inside of the opening. I emailed the distillery and they shipped me 2 new corks free of charge. Bunnahabhain is doing a lot of things right.***

****Reviewed neat on 04/12/16 while listening to Glenn Miller.****

Nose – Red fruits, sherry, nuts, brown sugar, vanilla, salt/brine, a dirty motor oil covered garage floor, red licorice, hay, very engaging nose, easy to nose (higher ABV doesn’t hurt the nose)

Taste – sherry sweet, wood, cinnamon, spices, very rich  brown sugar, caramel – The Nose offers more interesting notes. The taste follows through on the nose on some things and not others.

Finish – medium finish, slight wood, brown sugared sherry fruit, spices, some alcohol bitterness toward the end of the finish.

Favorite Part – The Nose.

Conclusion – I remember my 1st bottle being a little better on the finish…without any alcohol bite and bitterness. That said I can’t recommend this expression of Bunnahabhain enough. It is priced well and delivers in all the important areas. Bunnahabhain 12 is a staple in my cabinet.

Rating – 81/100

  • Presentation – 5/5
  • Nose – 21/25
  • Taste – 29/35
  • Finish – 18/25
  • Value – 8/10