...and luckily, the various re-tastings improved the rather weak first impressions a lot. This edition is much more simple than earlier ones with dominating wooden and peat notes burying the malt and sherry flavours almost completely in the nose and to a large extend in the taste too. But still this is quaffable dram, no doubt. I did a head-to-head with batch 12 and the earlier batch won this by far because of its higher complexity and better balance. But still the CS is way better than all of the recent NAS Laphroaig releases - so I strongly suggest to go for (still reasonably priced) older batches as I am afraid of the quality of the CS will deteriorate further due to the upcoming Beam management vintages...
The colour is russetmuscat which is even darker than batch 12, so obviously they added a lot of caramel to this batch (because I do not smell any significant sherry aromas). The profile is rather simple and harsh with dominating wooden notes beside the peat. The malt is almost not detectable in this mix, neither are the sherry flavours. After significant breathing time some shy sherry aromas enter the stage but still the malt is not recognisable.
The taste is simple but powerful with stronger sherry impressions than with the nose. The malt adds barley sugars and the peat cold bonfire ashes to this wood-driven profile and everyone who enjoys this modern whisky style will like this dram, most probably. To me as an old-style connoisseurs it is simply too simple with the non-malt flavours dominating the profile. Is this bad? Well, it all depends what you expect from your drams...
The initial mouthfeel is hot and peppery with a nice coating effect and some astringent moments from the wood. The finish is long and adds more sweet wine flavours, finally. The wood is not as aggressive as with both nose and taste but still it dominates clearly. There is a drying-astringent tendency towards the end of the finish. Water turns both nose and taste more harsh-punchy without releasing new impressions but a bigger splash tames that again and smooths the dram. Nonetheless I prefer the neat dram.