Review #104: SMWS 29.249: Sweet Black Tea in the Surgery (Laphroaig 21)

You can tell the favorites in our households by the liquid levels. This one is an exceptional dram (purchased for around $250 from a “last drops” email from SWMS of America). The bottle is one of my personal favorites from SWMS. It’s hard to find a bottle of cask strength 21-year Laphroaig (SWMS code 29 corresponds to Laphroaig), let alone one that has been finished in PX sherry, which is my go-to-favorite combination for scotch: peat-meets-sweet.

Sweet black tea in the surgery

  • Score - 9/10

Tasting Notes

Nose: Pine cone, tar, resin, cedar wood and hickory smoke, medicinal root beer, caramel apples, dusty like a medicine cabinet, black tea, tons of canned smoke.

Palate: Powerful sweet notes, vanilla, sugar cookies, rubber, oily, iodine, salt water, smoked green tea, brine, some toffee, olive oil. Oily mouthfeel.


Overall: 9/10. One of my favorite drams. Peat-meets-sweet done right. I’m a bit surprised about the “surgery” bit of the title because it’s less rubber gloved than most Laphroaigs can be, but the sweet black tea part is right on the money. 

Quick overview of our scoring system

Additional Information

  • ABV: 48.6%
  • Age: 21 years
  • This bottling spent 2 years in px-sherry and 19 in a second-fill bourbon cask.
  • One of 230 bottles.

About Scotch Malt Whisky Society

  • SMWS is an independent bottler that sells single casks of whisky from many distilleries. They’re all cask strength bottlings with no artificial coloring.
  • Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottlings are all numbered by distillery.
  • SMWS is now 25 years old in America and won the world’s best whisky at SF World Spirits Competition several times.
  • They’re based and headquartered in Leith Scotland, where they have one of the most gorgeous tasting rooms in the world.
  • It costs a membership fee to be able to purchase their bottles. Generally SMWS’s American arm has much better deals.
  • They generally release new bottlings in monthly outturn events.

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