Laphroaig 1998, 14yo, 53.9% – The Whisky Fair

Well, that was a lot quicker than I expected yesterday night!

I tried this Laphroaig some three weeks ago before I went on holiday. I just didn’t get around to scheduling it to pop up during our trip and I am just writing this review now.

Laphroaig is a bit of a weird one in my collection. It’s one of the distilleries on Islay that I like and care about (as are Lagavulin, Bowmore and Caol Ila…). However, I seem to not find any epic drams of the distillery that I want to buy. Even stranger, the bottles that I had last year, I mostly sold.

The distillery is one of those places that has fallen a bit for the marketing gimmicks of releasing increasingly younger whisky with all kinds of fancy names. Most of the Cairdeas releases are in that category and while there are some decent drams in it, a lot of them are quite alike and not much to write home about. Unless you’re really fond of spirity, sharply peated, high strength whiskies.

Luckily, there’s a lot of whisky available for independent bottlers and those somehow do release a lot of Age Stated whisky. Most of it still is about 12 to 16 years old, but that seems to be a sweet spot for Laphroaig.

Image from Whiskybase

Image from Whiskybase

Sniff:
Lots of peat and smoke. Salt, sand, grass and hay. All quite typical. Rotting barley, straw. Berries and unripe black berries. A strange combination of dead grass and unripe fruit. Very sweet.

Sip:
The palate starts a tad thin, but becomes dry and spicy quickly. Grass, straw and  heather are there, as you’d expect. Some oak, saw dust. A bit like a saw mill, with some machinery scents. Vanilla, oatmeal and shortbread.

Swallow:
The finish is sharp and full. Quite sweet with more vanilla than before. Custard and lemon curd. Hay.

It’s a bit of a strange one, this. There are some really nice flavors, and some that I don’t really like. It’s a tad too sweet for me.

Also, what’s an indicator of how much I like this whisky is this. I wrote the tasting notes before I went on holiday, and had completely forgotten about the whisky itself. That tells me I shouldn’t buy this bottle, if I inclined to do so.

So, in short. It’s not a bad dram, but it’s not great either. And all in all it’s a bit forgettable.

Laphroaig 1998, 14yo, 53.9%, Sherry wood, The Whisky Fair. It’s available at Jurgen’s Whiskyhuis for € 85

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm a web developer at Emakina. I'm highly interested in booze, with a focus on whisk(e)y. I like to listen to loads of music and read quite some books. I'm married to Anneke, have a daughter Ot, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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2 Responses to Laphroaig 1998, 14yo, 53.9% – The Whisky Fair

  1. Yori Costa says:

    Hi Sjoerd,

    Do you have the distillation date for this?

    I couldn’t find any on the bottle – any way of getting this information? There were a few superb Laphroaig distilled on 22.09.1998…

    Thanks,

    Yori

    • I honestly have no idea.

      Based on the dates related to this bottling: The Limburg Whisky Fair happens in April/May, and it’s 14 years old, I expect it’s distilled in the second half of the year.

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