Whisky Review 4. Laphroaig 10-year-old Scotch

Laphroaig Distillery

Laphroaig Distillery


The Laphroaig Distillery was established 200 years ago in 1815 in Port Ellen, on the Isle Islay. Port Ellen is on the southern coast of Islay and is the largest town in Islay. Laphroaig is Gaelic meaning, ” the beautiful hollow by the broad bay.”



Port Ellen

Port Ellen

Varietal: Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Owner: Beam Suntory

Colour: Golden Amber, no artificial colour added (I’d like to see a statement on the label.)

Viscosity: Medium body

Alcohol Content: 43% ABV or 86 Proof

Aged in American Oak Bourbon Casks

Distilled at Port Ellen, Isle Islay of Scotland

The 10-year-old issue has been made the same way for the past 75 years.

laphroaig 10Nose:

If you could smell green, it would be the smell of peat. Following soon, is the smoke of burning leaves, iodine, creosote of a winter fireplace, clover honey, seaweed, a hint of lime and limoncello, sea air


It’s a big rich tasting Scotch that one can almost chew. There’s peat, some smoke, a hint of vanilla extract, honey, sea salt, hint of pepper


The smoke seems light on the nose and tongue, but the finish lingers in the throat like you just smoked a fresh Romeo et Julieta Cigar, hint of lemon peel, hint of pepper


You may have noticed by now that I don’t give number ratings in my reviews. It’s a pretense I choose to avoid. I’ve found that every whisky or wine is a unique experience. For me, number ratings are akin to saying that this Rose is a 91 and that Lily is a 92. Ridiculous, right? Of course, there’s some that personally, I prefer more than others, but I would hope to convey my enjoyment for the experience in these reviews.

Another point: I won’t comment on any whisky until I’ve experienced the entire bottle. I’ve found that, similar to most wines, whiskies need to open up and breathe for a while before their flavor blossoms. Also, I favor myself the chance to experience a Scotch thoroughly before making notes of the venture. It’s about allowing myself the pleasure to relax and enjoy what the maker’s offering presents.

I remember the first time I tried Laphroaig 10 year. I was a little afraid because of all the previous comments such as,”Wow! The Laphroaig 10 just blew me away.” Or,”It set my mouth on fire! It’s just a big peat-bomb!”

The last time that an eating or drinking experience blew me away was the first time I ate Tex-Mex in a small town 50 miles outside of Dallas, Texas, some 35 years ago. It was my first time eating hot spicy jalapeños-laden food. I inhaled mouthful after incredible mouthful, drenched in sweat, my mouth aflame while avidly cracking open can after can of Coors beer, unavoidably attracting the attention of everyone close by because of the rapid fire of  popping lids. Drinking Laphroaig, for the first time, is nowhere near this sort of experience.

Laphroaig is not a monster to be feared. Rather, it is an enjoyable drinking experience that conjures up the spirit of Scotland’s William Wallace, jagged coastal mountains and the tumbling azure blue sea. The Laphroaig 10 is a bucket-list indulgence.

The Laphroaig 10 is closer to the Ardbeg 10 than most realize, yet they are both very different. Which one is better? That just depends on the mood that you’re in.  If you enjoy the occasional fine cigar, then the aftertaste or finish of the Laphroaig will be very appealing. If you like the taste of peat, then this is one to pick up.

Islay whiskies, excluding Bunnahabhain, (which is delightful in its way, but a closer leaning to a Highland,) are for those who want to experience everything life has to offer. The Laphroaig 10 Year Old Single Malt is priced at around $10 lower than the Ardbeg 10 but surely is it’s equal. It’s a full and satisfying drinking experience as satisfying and enjoyable as anything out there.

One more note that most reviewers leave out; If you pick up a bottle of any Laphroaig, be sure that your container includes the little booklet. Within the booklet, there’s a code that allows you to a square-foot-claim of Laphroaig land. Go to their website www.laphroaig.com/plot, register the code, and you will receive the certificate. It’s a fun novelty to share with your friends and family, and a great way to enhance customer loyalty.

Drink responsibly. Cheers!


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James Finn

Author: James Finn

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