Islay is an island off the southwest coast of Scotland about 20 nautical miles away from the Irish coast, and the single malt whiskies produced there are renowned for their smoky, full-bodied character. Laphroaig whisky, known as “the most richly flavoured of all Scotch whiskies” is a particular favorite among whisky connoisseurs with its notes of iodine, peat smoke, and salt. Let’s be clear: these aren’t whiskies for first timers. Instead, whiskies like Laphroaig appeal to the dedicated single malt Scotch drinker or the passionate cigar smoker. These are big, smoky whiskies, yet they are surprisingly elegant and enjoyable underneath the peat and iodine. While the most common marque to see from Laphroaig is the entry-level 10-year offering, a number of other expressions, including the Triple Wood marquee, are also available.
Laphroaig Triple Wood is a big golden-colored whisky that comes in at 48 percent ABV. This whisky starts off being matured in used American oak ex-bourbon barrels before being transferred to smaller, quarter casks, and then finally moved into European oak, ex-oloroso sherry casks. The result is a whisky that is both complex and layered.
On the palate, it becomes evident that the sherry cask influence has carried through into this whisky. Notes of raisins are an obvious indicator of sherry cask influence, and Triple Wood shows this clearly. Vanilla, caramel, and freshly roasted nuts are also apparent along with a significant peat smoke note. At 48 percent ABV, I found that I preferred Triple Wood with a splash of cool water, which brought the peat smoke out and into the bouquet in a much greater way. My glass suddenly smelled as if a campfire had recently gone out. Once past the peat smoke though, more vanilla, warm caramel, and orange peel notes appear.
This is really a gentle giant of a whisky, one that would be perfect for a quiet night of contemplation or for an accompaniment to a good book by the fire. This is a complex whisky, one that presents a huge hit of peat at the beginning but rewards patience by slowly revealing its multifaceted layers of flavor. Laphroaig Triple Wood is a whisky that takes time and effort to enjoy, and this is not a beginner’s Scotch whisky. But if you are a Scotch whisky enthusiast and if you enjoy the whiskies of Islay, add Laphroaig Triple Wood to your list of whiskies to try.
Disclosure: I received a sample of this product from Laphroaig for review. No other compensation from Laphroaig was received.