Review #56: Laphroaig Distillery Exclusive (Oloroso Sherry 2011)

Back during our 2018 Thanksgiving break (end of November for non-Americans), we went to Islay in Scotland and visited the holy grounds of Laphroaig Distillery (article here). The Distillers Wares tour culminated in our favorite part: drinking straight from 3 casks and then selecting two 250 mL miniatures to take home.

We have cherished these mini-treasures since our return in a Charlie-Bucket-treats-birthday-chocolate-bar kind of way, taking cheeky tiny sips on special occasions. But alas, the end is nigh and it’s time to review them. The first was Cask #2 from our tour: cask 3614, aged entirely in Oloroso sherry casks. It’s interesting reading our tasting notes from our original tour, because our tasting notes taken since our return definitely underline more of the smokey characters.

Laphroaig Cask 3514 Year 2011

  • Score - 9/10
    9/10

Summary

Nose: Dirt-covered roots, dusty attic, stone, granite, caramel peeks through, wet caves, leather wallet, olive oil

Palate: Black pepper covering a sweet vanilla flavor on first sip. A lot of soot and ash, burnt blackened marshmallow, char, tannic leather, smoke and brine

Finish: Very long, ash, some caramel. Lingering leather.

Summary

Overall: 9/10. Exceptional. Worth the price of going to Islay. I’d do the long marketing-heavy tour again just to get back to the tasting and bringing home part.

TLDR: Leather in a sea cove

Bought for: A trip to Islay and to Laphroaig Distillers Wares (70 Euros)

Overall
9/10
9/10

Quick overview of our scoring system. Note that we try to give a “5” for an average whisky, which is lower than standard whisky scoring guides (typically around 80).


Additional Information

  • Cask Type: Oloroso Sherry
  • Age: 7 years (2011 year, tasted in 2018)
  • ABV: 54.8%
  • Mashbill: Malted barley

About Laphroaig (Fun Facts)

  • Read our review of the Laphroaig distillery (an excellent place to visit, especially because you get to bottle some exclusive single casks that you would never be able to buy!)
  • Was sold to America during the Prohibition because Ian Hunter was able to successfully convince the government that the “iodine character” of the whisky was a sign of its medicinal properties
  • Their whisky is almost all aged partially in bourbon casks – and specifically casks from Maker’s Mark
  • Had an infamous legal dispute with Lagavulin when their water was diverted the Kilbride dam (the peated water of the dam was suspected to be behind the brand’s success)
  • Famously has a Friends of Laphroaig program in which a bottle of Laphroaig gives you a square foot of land on their distillery that you can then claim and visit when you go to the distillery
  • Review of our Laphroaig Triple Wood (7.5/10)

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