...and both are typical Laphroaig with a fine peaty-medicinal-fruity profile but very different. OLD is rather shy but more complex and balanced while NEW is much more impressive but simpler and a little spiked. Hence OLD is more old-stylish while NEW is closer to the modern whisky zeitgeist (but still a Traditional Scotch-like dram). Usually I prefer the more old-style whiskies but when it comes to Laphroaig I choose the more powerful NEW over OLD. Both are very quaffable, no doubt...
The colour of OLD is deep gold and NEW is much paler at jonquiripe corn. OLD offers a rather subtle profile composed of the trademark Laphroaig aromas of maritime peat smoke, medicinal notes and citric fruits. It is nicely balanced and delicious but neither complex nor impressive. NEW's profile is richer but still not bold, I would say. The peat and the wood is much more dominant but still the fruits, barley sugars and some earthy-herbal aromas shine through. It is more complex than OLD but not as balanced (hence more modern-stylish). I prefer NEW over OLD (by two points).
NEW's taste is bold and impressive just as we expect from Laphroaig. It offers a fine combination of malty, peaty and wooden flavours in a much more balanced mix than in the nose. The barley sugars are strong enough to withstand the heavy peaty attacks and the wood is firm but never tries to dominate. It is neither layered nor complex but it is undeniably Laphroaig the way I like it. And what a difference to OLD! OLD is rather shy and subtle with more bitter herbal-wooden notes and an unusual sugary sweetness. Still this is Laphroaig-ish and easy quaffable, but it is a little too shy and simple for my taste. Again this is a two points advantage in favour of NEW.
OLD arrives warming but just very little coating on the palate with a minor drying feeling (cold metals). The initial mouthfeel of NEW is much better with a nicely coating effect and no distracting moments at all. The finish of OLD is of medium length with even more wood influence but it never grows too strong. There is a minor and tasty milk chocolate note towards the end that I like. NEW's finish is much longer and adds more spices and more medicinal notes which increase the complexity. But there is a minor drying-astringent feeling towards the end which is a little distracting, to be honest (now the tannins of the wood demand their toll). Guess what? This time NEW wins by just one point. Water is not needed on both drams, OLD just gets flatter while NEW gets smoother and more quaffable but less interesting. I like both best when neat.