...and it is (when somewhat reduced to unlock all the secrets in both nose and taste). A classic old-style Laphroaig that swims like Mark Spitz and tastes like "give me more". All the Beam management should be obliged to taste such releases before they decide on the next "woodsky" NAS edition...
The colour is yellow gold and the nose offers the typical bold Laphroaig profile (of the past). There are maritime-peaty and medicinal aromas in abundance that are tamed by sweet fruits and sugars and both are not dominated by the woods (like in most recent NAS releases). This is an impressive but still balanced nose, I like it.
The taste is nicely layered on bitter-sweet impressions from the malt, the peat and the woods. Again all stays in balance without any flaw. This dram is greatly chewable and it offers more molten barley sugars, earthy flavours and maritime impressions this way. Water releases much more aromas in the nose and flavours on the palate, this is an excellent swimmer and I strongly suggest to try it reduced to about 45% abv (or less). This is good for two more points in my book (I rate the neat dram at 88 points).
The dram arrives warming and coating on the palate with minor bitter moments from the peat (not the wood) that are rather welcomed than distracting. The finish is long and after a barley sugary-sweet interlude it turns bitter-drying (cold ashes, metals) which again is not distracting compared to the aggressive bitter wooden finishes of the recent NAS stuff. Yes, there is a difference between tasty bitterness (peat, metals) and annoying bitterness (tannins, sulphur) - at least to my taste buds.