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Laphroaig 15, old bottle, 43% abv.


Laphroaig 15, old bottle, 43% abv.

This bottling is one of the "original" 15 year olds. I put original in quotes because the timeline is a little weird, where I believe the bottle was introduced into Laphroaig's core in 1985 (or 1980 depending on who you ask), with an unblended red 15 label version in tin box (pre-1985?) as well as a modern font 15 with tin box. The 15 was retired in 2009 and replaced by the 18 year old, but then stocks for the 18 year old were depleting quickly and was replaced by a one-shot, newly designed 15 year old in 2015, but no new 15s, and 18s, after that. The bottle I tried does not have the Royal Warrant, dating it before 1994. Interestingly, it seems Laphroaig went from 43% abv chill filtered (15yo) to 46% abv and non-chill filtered (18yo), and then poof, nothing. Seems like economics influenced Laphroaig significantly over the modern years.

Nose: light charred wood, light charcoal, light smoke, a light Islay-mafia nose.

Palate: quite smooth, wood, initial palate is minty, methanoly, gives way to more mellowed wood flavors, back palate is a light wood smoke.

Finish: short to medium, wood smoke.

Wow, like a mellowed version of the 10... or any of the Islay big four (Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Caol Ila). I guess the normal abv limits what can go through, with the wood elements accentuated with time. It's good, but pretty simple stuff... which I find shocking since I was expecting an intense 10, but should remember/understand that the peaty elements reduce with time. Not much going on here, walk on by. Had this at Bar Leichardt, Fukuoka, Japan.

Grade: C

Whiskyfun.com, Serge Valentin, 90 points for ~2006 bottle, 88 points for ~2002 bottle, 92 points for ~2000 bottle.
Malt maniacs, 89 points from 2 reviews for ~1998 bottle, 90 points from 5 reviews for ~2000 bottle, 87 points from 15 reviews foe ~2002 bottle.
Lawhiskeysociety, B- from 3 reviews
Ralfy, 86/100


Image courtesy of Eric Yee.


Eric Yee

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