I recently wrote a review here on Laphroaig 10 year single malt scotch whisky. While Laphroaig 10 is the benchmark for what most people think of as the classic Laphroaig taste profile, a richer, more elegant dram is found with Laphroaig 18 year. While both of these whiskies are Islay scotches, the difference the extra eight years of aging makes is remarkable. The Laphroaig 10 is a really outstanding Islay single malt, but the Laphroaig 18 goes even further, being one of the most complex and remarkable whiskies from Scotland. While Laphroaig 10 is perhaps a bit smokier, Laphroaig 18 still has plenty of smoke and the gentle, light undertones that make Laphroaig such a classic dram.
Laphroaig 18 is a relatively recent replacement for a 15-year-old marque that was an old favorite with many whisky afficionados. However, the additional three years of maturity have created an even more complex malt. Non-chill filtered to retain maximum flavor and bottled at 48% ABV, Laphroaig 18 benefits from just the smallest amount of cool water to help open it up.
On the nose, Laphroaig offers a big hit of smoke and peat with an underlying sweetness. Notes of vanilla, honey, and toffee are evident. As this whisky coats the palate, smoke, peat, and iodine are the first flavors to be encountered, but this is a bit more restrained than the 10. While the 10 year would be the whisky equivalent of a young Mike Tyson, fierce and slightly savage, the 18 would be Muhammed Ali, elegant, vibrant, and confident enough to brag. Laphroaig 18 almost shows off in the glass, offering layers of complexity that begin to open as the dram sits in the glass. While not every whisky drinker will appreciate Laphroaig 18, those that do will be in for a real treat.
Laphroaig 18 has a long, complex finish with notes of fresh seaweed, grilled mackerel, and cedar smoke before a final wave of sweetness washes over the palate. Slowly, the finish recedes, leaving a final smoke note to subtly dissipate from the tongue. This is a deeply satisfying whisky for those who appreciate complex single malt scotch whiskies.
Overall, Laphroaig 18 isn’t a malt for everyone, but those who appreciate the best of the Islay whiskies would be advised to search out this one. This is a rich, complex, and satisfying malt that offers a truly unique flavor experience in the world of whisky. Highly recommended.
Disclosure: I received a sample of this product from Laphroaig for review. No other compensation from Laphroaig was received.