This is one of the last great Laphroaig releases (besides the Cask Strength editions) that was distilled during a time when they still went for quality instead of quantity and a "I punch that dram into your face" attitude (heavy phenols and heavy woods alone do not create a great whisky - at least not for my taste buds)... Grab these bottles as long as they are somewhat affordable!
The colour is old gold and the texture shows many small tears with slow legs that consolidate to bigger, sticky teardrops over time. The nose offers this typical modern Laphroaig profile of medicinal phenols, malty sugars and heavy wooden notes. But contrary to the younger NAS editions of the recent years that are completely wood-driven this profile still is in a good balance.
The taste is barley sugary sweet with heavy phenols, maritime flavours and spicy wooden notes. Not as complex as the sixties or seventies Laphroaig but still very nice. Some water releases much more aromas and flavours both in the nose and on the palate that really increase the complexity and delicateness of this dram. I like it best when reduced to about 43% abv (the score of the neat dram is two points less).
The dram arrives warming and coating in the mouth with minor drying-astringent moments from the woods that are not distracting at all. The finish is long and adds some dry ashy notes (cold campfire) that are rather interesting in this context. It offers an enourmous sweetness at the end which is delicious.