Laphroaig 16 Year Old a ‘softer’ version of an iconic Scotch

By John Trump

Campfires and sweaty socks. Wet leather and distilled dirt.

Laphroaig, that wonderfully smoky Islay Scotch, is inherently divisive. Love it, as I do, or, well … nevermind.

Lore, for instance — and even the 10 Year — is characterized by punch-you-in-your-nose peat and smoke, which is why I find it so exceptional.

But the distillery’s latest offering, Laphroaig 16 Year Old, is, at 96 proof, surprisingly mellow, leaning toward Scotches distilled and aged further to the north. It has a small bite, yet its buttery, with hints of leather and rich caramel.

“Over time, the whisky’s smoky flavor softens on the senses and is beautifully married with sweet vanilla notes aging in American Oak to deliver a long lasting, smoky sweet and rich flavor,” the distillery says. “Laphroaig 16 Year Old is best served neat or with a drop of water.”

Here are more tasting notes:

 Color: Deep copper 

Nose: Sweet leather, oaky spices, with floral notes, roasted chestnuts with rich maple syrup, and a touch of black pepper. 

Palate: Sweet with treacle, caramel, Manuka honey and thyme, as well as wood smoke, creosote, lots of floral notes of heather and bergamot, and a chili mouthfeel. 

Finish: Long lasting, smoky, sweet with a salted seaweed, medicinal character.  

Laphroaig 16 Year Old will become a permanent addition to Laphroaig’s core range of single malt whiskies, with a limited amount of liquid released each year, the distillery says. It runs about $90 a bottle in the U.S.