Laphroaig 20, 1995-2015, 58.4% – SMWS (Essence of Islay)

Yet another completely random sample that I most likely got from a Bottle Share. As you can see by the year of bottling in the title, this has been collecting dust for about four years, with me completely forgetting about it.

What also didn’t help is that I find most recent Laphroaigs rather lackluster, with them being fairly generic. Yet another peated whisky that I can forget about right after tasting it. Of course, this point of view makes me miss out on some really good ones too. However, with the current price point of Laphroaig, at least the properly aged ones, it’s quite the risk to randomly buy one…


Image from Whiskybase

Very gently smoky with soft pears and wild peaches. Don’t get me wrong, it’s smoky, but not the ‘punch in your face’ style that’s so prevalent. A fruity sweetness, with a fattiness of wax coats.

Drier than expected, but also slightly less sharp. Wood-, alcohol-, and chili heat. With the fruity backdrop and a bit of coastal notes. Brine and sand, mostly. Again, those waxcoats, or canvas.

The finish is merely warming, but leaves a burn on your tongue for a while. Wintry, with pears, stewed apples, wild peaches, porridge and smoke.

Well, contrary to the introduction of most Laphroaigs being only so-so, this is a cracker. An absolutely great whisky with lots of depth and lots of character. The fruitiness and far more gentle peat smoke than I’m used to makes for a much more interesting whisky that is a lot more drinkable than its 58.4% makes you expect.

Essence of Islay seems about right, as far as SMWS naming goes…


Laphroaig 1995-2015, 20yo, Refill Bourbon Barrel, 58.4%, SMWS, 29.171 ‘Essence of Islay’


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
This entry was posted in Laphroaig and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Laphroaig 20, 1995-2015, 58.4% – SMWS (Essence of Islay)

  1. 29 is one helluva number!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s