I must admit that I do not quite understand the extremely high rating of 90+ (91.50 in the
beginning, now still at 90.21 @June/16/2014 with already 40 votes). It's a good and special
Laphroaig, absolutely no question, I give it 87 points which I think is
still a very good rating. But I directly compared it alongside with
Laphroaig 18y, Laphroaig Cask Strength Batch #004 and Laphroaig PX Cask,
and I must say that during that tasting, I liked better all three other
Laphys. All four Laphys share the typical peaty Laphroaig basic
character (while the Cairdeas being most different).
Differences and personal ranking are as follows:
is Laphroaig Cask Strength Batch #004 having a fully bodied and
quite intense taste. With water it is relaxed (depending on the amount of water, of course) but still remaining fully bodied, now emerging delicious nut aromas.
(or maybe also No.1 ???) is Laphroaig 18y which shows such a perfect
balance of all included flavours, intense and peaty, but complex and
really balanced. A powerful "Senior Laphroaig".
No.3 is the Laphroaig
PX Cask with an unobtrusive fruity aroma. It is a Quarter Cask plus a
very nice discreet bloomy/fruity crown being not dominant but delicious
and perfectly integrated (by the way, much, much better integrated than
in the Triple Wood).
No.4 is the Laphroaig Cairdeas 2014 which has a very interesting nose. The nose is not primarily dominated by its peat but more by a
complex mixture of fruity aromas. But it is also quite strong and caustic/vitriolic (I do not know if this is an adequate English term for what I mean as I am German. The German term is "beissend").
Its taste is not that of a Laphroaig "peat sledge", instead it is delicious and quite special for a Laphroaig, lemon
and fresh fruit aromas, well interwoven with distinct peat flavours. However,
the finish is quite pungent. It may also be spirituous or whatever the
base of this bitingness is, it is difficult for me to substantiate. This taste coincides with the impression I had from the nose.
water helps, it attenuates the biting finish (however not completely) and
softens the whole taste experience, furthermore educing more delicious aromas. So you
can even find some discreet nut flavour growing into the lemon layer.
Water is not always improving a whisky but here I would recommend this.
Which amount of water has to be adjusted by personal experiment.
It is a very interesting and "rather different Laphroaig", and it is good, indeed. But IMHO the other three
Laphroaigs I mentioned above do outperform it.
course, this is my very personal opinion, and you know "There's No
Accounting For Taste", especially for Whisky ;-). My 2 Cents ...