Laphroaig 20yo, 1998-2018, 54.3% – Cadenhead

Since yesterday was Laphroaig’s day on Feis Ile (if I’m not mistaken), I decided to do a very private version of that, by finally drinking this sample of a 20 year old bottling from Cadenhead.

It’s a mix of two bourbon hogsheads that was released in 2018, and if Cadenhead, and the age statement are things to go by, this should be good.

Let’s dive right in!

Image from Whiskybase

There’s a lot of smoke from the get-go. Quite earthy, brine like and medicinal. Band-aids and such, sea spray, some burning embers. Baked apple, straw and dried flowers.

Very dry on the palate and quite hot on the arrival. Charcoal, sawdust and hessian. Dried heather, some corky apple and smoke. A lot of smoke, with salty brine, boats and ropes, some band-aids. Straw too, with a hint of a syrupy sweetness behind all the violence.

The finish doesn’t really taste 20 years old, but there is some classic Laphroaig in there. Lots of smoke and earthy peat, with straw, oak, and charcoal. The medicinal tinge is pushed back a little bit, but the finish is warming and long.

With modern Laphroaig there is often the complaints that it has lost a lot of its uniqueness and complexity over the decades. I guess that is true, with this having only a minor touch of the medicinal scents and flavors that were so prevalent in times gone by.

Having said that, this still is a fairly cracking dram. The combination of a very strong spirit, flavor wise, and 20 years of aging resulted in a potent drink that shows the best of a heavily peated spirit, and time to marry it with the influence the casks can give. Great stuff!


Laphroaig 20, 1998-2018, 2 x Bourbon Hogshead, 54.3%, Cadenhead. Available in NL for a whopping € 350


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.
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