What a banger! Plenty of heft for 19 years old. I really dig the balance of sweetness (there’s certainly lots of that) with the drier and meatier peat notes. The tropical fruit and vanilla characters are just gorgeous. It’s one of my favourite Laphroaigs I’ve tried, and helps cement my love of Madeira casks.
Nose: Sweet and savoury. All sorts of syrupy fruits: cooked citrus, tinned peaches, black cherries, raspberries. More sweet notes of vanilla, fresh chocolate chip cookies, and butter-braised carrots. Laphroaigian band-aids, spicy cured meats, dried herbs, smoked paprika, and brine. Grilled shrimp! Maybe some braised beef too, and I promise I’m not getting that note from the beef currently braising in my kitchen. Like a blast of hot air from a holiday oven.
Palate: Medium-thick texture. Vanilla, and toffee apples up front, along with orange oil, plums, and some tropical fruit (pineapple, passionfruit, papaya). Rich medicinal smoke, more vanilla, raisins, and surprisingly floral and sweetness. That develops to heavy black pepper, seaweed, coastal peat smoke, and tinned fruits-in-syrup. A distinct green tea and pineapple note lurking in the back somewhere. Slightly sulfurous.
Finish: Spicy and wood-smoky. Burning birch bark, maple syrup, and molasses. Pomegranate juice, passionfruit, blood orange, cedar, star anise, and dried oregano. Black tea and gingerbread. Beach sand and something like hot iron.