Whisky Review #82: Laphroaig 25 Years Old (2014 Cask Strength Edition)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to one and all! May this festive season bring with it good food, great drinks, exceptional company and unforgettable memories!

As promised, I have saved a rather special bottling for this most joyous of occasions and I felt that it was only fitting that a review which was to be published on the 25th of December would deserve a 25 Years Old expression as its subject matter.

Laphroaig is a distillery which needs no introduction. It is also one of my favourite distilleries, which is one of the reasons why it tends to make a fairly regular appearance on this blog due to the different core, travel retail and limited expressions that the distillery releases.

As I have previously delved into the history of Laphroaig, I do not see the need to rehash old information and all of it can be found at the following link: Laphroaig

Other reviews from the distillery can be found at the following link: Laphroaig Reviews

This week’s review focuses on the Laphroaig 25 Years Old expression which was bottled at cask strength in 2014 and released by the distillery as a special release. This expression was matured in a combination of first-fill Oloroso sherry butts and ex-American oak casks before being married and bottled at a natural cask strength of 45.1% abv by the distillery.

I had the pleasure of sampling this expression at the Exquisite Schiphol store in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport prior to my flight back to Singapore in June and it was an absolute steal at 17.50 for a 45ml pour. I definitely could not say no to sampling an exceptional dram such as this at an unbelievably good price!

So, let’s jump right to the review!

laphroaig-25-years-old-2014-cask-strength-edition
Laphroaig 25 Years Old (2014 Cask Strength Edition)

Laphroaig 25 Years Old (2014 Cask Strength Edition, 45.1% abv)

Colour: Straw

Nose: Initial entry presents a rich and sweet note which is reminiscent of orchard fruits and sherried raisins. There is a rich barley undertone as well and it is augmented by a good measure of sea salt, sea spray, menthol and just a tiny hint of peat.

The oak exhibits itself in a sophisticated way without being too pronounced and it is augmented by cooked red apples, stewed apricots and just the faintest trace of TCP and iodine. If anything, the nose only hints at the possibility that this is a Laphroaig, but it is undoubtedly bloody good. (23/25)

Palate: The richness continues and is complemented by the silky smoothness of the spirit on the palate. Chewy barley coupled with barley sugar and sherried raisins emerge at the front and are followed by hints of summer orchard fruit and briny peat.

The TCP, menthol and iodine notes which were detected on the nose are fleeting and only emerge towards the end in order to provide another reminder that this dram is a Laphroaig after all. Sherried and intense, with a slight bit of oak and cinnamon at the very end. (24/25)

Finish: Long and lingering on the finish, with some cigar ash and briny peat intermingling well with the remainder of the summer orchard fruits and sherried raisins. The fruity sweetness is not cloying and is adequate enough to counterbalance the smoky, spicy and woody elements. (23/25)

Balance: A supremely well-balanced expression and definitely one of the best representations of what the distillery is capable of beyond its standard house style. A gloriously good dram! (24/25)

Rating: 94/100

What surprised me the most about this dram was that the peat was not an overt element, but instead chose to make sporadic appearances both on the nose and on the palate in order to allow for the other elements of the flavour profile to shine through.

It did make a more sustained appearance towards the end though, providing another timely reminder that the dram was in fact a Laphroaig. The fruit notes on this expression were also rather surprising and the Oloroso and American oak casks definitely had a hand in shaping the final character of this expression.

Credit must also be given to the stills which were in place during the time when this expression was distilled, as this was very much a part of the old fruity new-make house style of Laphroaig before the stills were changed in 1999/2000 and the peating level was increased in order to produce the expressions that we are more familiar with today.

This expression of Laphroaig is still available for purchase at most bars and airports and considering that the prices are still rather reasonable, it would make sense to acquire bottles of this while they’re still affordable.

I would highly encourage those of you who are intending to make a trip through Schiphol Airport to drop by the Exquisite store in order to purchase some rather interesting and unusual bottles as well as sample some amazing whiskies, including this stellar expression of Laphroaig.

Until the next review, have a wonderful festive celebration.

Slainte, Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Brendan

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2 thoughts on “Whisky Review #82: Laphroaig 25 Years Old (2014 Cask Strength Edition)

    1. Indeed! I was shocked at how affordable it was (when you consider that the same dram in Singapore would have set me back at least 50 euros)!

      Definitely worth trying mate and if you do see it, please give it a go!

      Like

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