Malt of the Month: July 2015
We choose our Malt of the Month to highlight some of the great whiskies of the world. Some are well known, some less so, but you can be certain that if it's our Malt of the Month, then you won't be disappointed. This month we've chosen:
10 Year OldIslay Single Malt Scotch Whisky Please wait Web Exclusive Price
Laphroaig is one of the most famous Islay whiskies, known for its medicinal smoky character. The distillery is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, making Laphroaig 10 Year Old an ideal choice for our Malt of the Month. We love it, with its combination of sweet smoke and fruitiness rewarding those who give it some time and delve beneath the peat.
Produced for decades, it's Laphroaig's statement of intent, showcasing the style of whisky that they're making. Sometimes it's fruitier, sometimes it's drier, but at the moment it's well balanced, giving the best of both worlds. It also wowed the experts at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2013, winning a Double Gold medal.
Tasting notes by Billy Abbott
- Nose: Singed lemons, cresosote-painted fences and pink shrimp sweets. There's wood smoke and sea spray, as well as sweetness – toffee and candied citrus peel.
- Palate: Oily on the palate, with charcoal and coal stoves to start. It's not as sweet as on the nose, with layers of smoke, brine and hints of smoked fish. The initial dryness gives way to some gently fruity notes, with waxy apples joined by candied lemon and bitter Seville orange.
- Finish: Barrel char, cinnamon spice and hints of fruit. A bonfire sits on the tongue, slowly fading to sweet anise.
- Comment: Not as fruity as some of the older bottles, focusing on the core Laphroaig medicinal character with wood smoke as backup. Intense, distinctive and definitely Laphroaig.
Founded in 1815, Laphroaig has had an eventful history. There's been tragedy – co-founder Donald Johnston died after falling into a vat of boiling ale; rivalry – they and Lagavulin fought in the courts for years; and inspiration – Bessie Williamson was one of the first and most influential women distillery managers of the modern age.
Family-owned until the 1950s, they are now owned by the Beam Suntory group. Despite being part of a large concern, they continue to operate in a traditional fashion, with an onsite floor maltings, where they still produce as much smoky barley malt as they can, helping to create the distinctively flavoured spirit.