Oh, Laphroaig. It’s not only one of my favorite peated whiskies, it is one of my favorite whiskies, period. Imagine my joy when I heard about their new series, The Ian Hunter Story. Mr. Hunter was distillery manager between 1908 and 1944. He made important changes in the production process while in charge, like introducing American oak barrels into as maturation vessels. It’s clear he helped mold the flavor of the distillery into what it is today.
To honor Ian Hunter, the distillery is introducing this first entry in the Ian Hunter Story – Book 1: Unique Character. The 30-year-old single malt aged in first-fill bourbon barrels. It’s non-chill filtered and bottled at 46.7% abv.
So, does this whisky live up to it’s story?
At three decades old, this still has that Laphroaig DNA, albeit in a softer delivery. The nose features lemon candy and some peat smoke that’s less in your face than you’d think. As peated whiskies age, the smoky quality softens over time. Ripe orchard fruit, vanilla, and orange blossom honey round out the nose. On the palate, waves of lightly smoked honey arrive with flair, followed by hints of pepper and peat. Aromatic oak and seaweed meet a touch of rancio. The long finish is surprisingly sweet. Salted caramel pairs with toasted old oak and smoked herbs.
My answer to the above question is an emphatic yes! This is some of the loveliest older Laphroaig I’ve ever tasted. Can I use the word delicate to describe Laphroaig? This is the only time I can fathom using that word. It’s intricately flavored and blossoms beautifully in the glass with some time. I’m not going to call a $1,250 bottle of whisky a steal, but…
Thanks to Laphroaig for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Actor, comedian, woodworker, and America’s sweetheart Nick Offerman loves Lagavulin. After all, it was featured as the favorite whisky of Ron Swanson, Offerman’s iconic character on Parks & Recreation. He’s also starred in a series of whisky-related videos on Youtube. Let me reiterate: the man loves Lagavulin.
So much so that Offerman teamed up with Lagavulin distillery manager Colin Gordon to create his very own expression. The result is Lagavulin Offerman Edition, an 11-year-old single malt bottled at 46% ABV. As Mr. Offerman himself says:
I have traveled the world and sampled many attempts at pleasing nectars, but it is solely this distillation of Islay; a tiny, charismatic Scottish isle, that has claimed my palate. Yah, and my heart into the bargain.
On the nose, a blend of campfire smoke and grilled pineapple presents itself rather nicely. A sprinkling of kelp, red pepper and sweet oak round things out. The palate offers what I love about Lagavulin: a full-bodied, full flavored smoky malt. Hints of salted toffee meet a wave of campfire-like peat smoke. Grilled tropical fruit (I assume a lot of ex-bourbon barrel maturation here) bring an element of sweetness. The mid-palate offers a hearty helping of oak spice and sprinkling of dried fruit and dried herbs. The long finish is warming, sweet, and smoky.
Lagavulin Offerman Edition is a fantastic expression from the distillery. It comes across as bolder than the core 16-year-old offering, but not as intense as the annual 12-year-old release. Showcasing some of the whisky’s spicier notes was a good decision, and one that plays well with the big, smoky distillery character. At $74.99, Lagavulin Offerman Edition is a must buy for Lagavulin fans. I can’t think of a better pour during a Parks & Recreation binge session.
Thanks to Diageo for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Ultra-aged expressions of Laphroaig can be some mighty fine whisky. For 2018, the distillery has released a 28-year-old expression. The whiskies that make up this expression have matured in different sized casks, from quarter casks to butts. For the last year, they’ve been married together in sherry casks. Peated whisky in sherry casks? I’m sold.
Bottled at 44.4% ABV, Laphroaig 28-year-old has a fantastically interesting nose with hints of toffee, dried herbs, tropical fruit, anise, and cloves. On the palate, fresh fruit juice and stewed pears are matched with toasted cedar staves, peppercorns, brine and grilled mushrooms. The finish is long with sweet peat, grilled tropical fruit, and spice.
The Islay-based distillery has done it again. It’s released a carefully matured whisky showcasing some of its best qualities. This expensive ($799) bottle is a treasure trove of classic Laphroaig aromas and flavors delivered in droves. The tropical fruit and spice notes are prominent, as the famous medicinal-like notes come across in a more laid back fashion. Delicious. Yes. Expensive? Definitely. Worth it? If you can afford it. 9/10