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Laphroaig 10 Revisited – I Shouldn’t Have

by Oliver Klimek on April 17, 2015

Recently I was given a current miniature bottle of Laphroaig 10. I have not tasted it for a few years, apart from a dram in bar some time ago. So it is time to give it another try to see if it has changed.

ABV: 40%

My Tasting Notes:

Colour: Bright amber
Nose: Mild peat smoke, hints of smoked ham, bananas, vanilla, cloves and black pepper.
Palate: Dry peat, vanilla, banana and stewed apples, hints of cough syrup, cloves and pepper.
Finish: Rather long, dry and smoky.

Rating: 82/100 – Price Tag $$$$$ – Value for your Money $$$$$

I had already read several comments that Laphroaig 10 had gone down in quality recently, and I have to confirm this. This isn’t the same whisky anymore that I have been loving for its uncompromising dedication to phenols. I have gone as ar as to call the entire distillery uncompromising when I visited Islay in spring 2010.

Not anymore. This whisky feels watered down, not so much in a physical sense but the proverbial smouldering tyre and burnig hospital character has been diluted with exchangeability. 

It is ironic that it is this whisky that Laphroaig uses for their recent advertising campaign reflecting its “love it or hate it” reputation. At the same time the new Laphroaig Select was introdced to offer a toned down version of the classic. But in fact the 10 yo old appears closer to the Select now than to the classic Laphroaig 10, and I couldn’t even say I prefer it over the Select. I already was not exactly overwhelmed when I tasted the 10 yo back in 2010 but today I am even more disappointed by it.

The current Laphroaig 10 feels like Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” played by an Easy Listening big band with marimbaphone and string section. And I also had to think of an aging pop star of the 1970s who is only able to get gigs at openings of new DIY stores and garden centres anymore.

This whisky is just a shadow of its former self. Laphroaig 10 used to be a staple dram, consistently delivering excellent quality at a very moderate price. I have tasted some outstanding expressions of it (sadly without tasting notes). Now it has become just another decent whisky. It still is better than a lot of other entry level single malts, but this is not really a sign of Laphroaig’s strength, rather an indication of the weakness of the other whiskies. I can not see myself buying a bottle of it again anytime soon.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lawrence April 19, 2015 at 6:23 pm

Oliver, you should compare the current 10yo 40% versus the current 10yo 43%. I think you will find the difference quite surprising.


Oliver Klimek April 19, 2015 at 6:25 pm

I can well imagine, but the 43% is very hard to find in Europe.


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