It’s a different whisky world nowadays. In the early days of illicit whisky production, it’s highly likely the only reason the spirit would have ever seen the inside of a cask was for storage immediately after being made or for ease of transport. The fiery juice was consumed hot and angry, mellowing be damned. Over time it was discovered that the effect the wood was having on the alcohol when it was retained for any length of time was favorable.
Many years later (early 1900s), in an age of whisky overproduction, allegations were made that nearly any barrel available was used for whisky maturation. I’ve even heard nasty, and generally debunked, chatter about Campbeltown distilleries in particular, maturing in old pickle barrels. Ugh. Either way…I think at this point the whisky was likely left alone to mellow, barely ever sloshing about (don’t forget…long, long back there was no such thing as a forklift to make ease of cask movement a reality) and when eventually removed from wood, it was quickly bottled.
Creeping a little further down the timeline (present day), we find ourselves in an age where whisky moves from cask to cask with the mobility of a cheerleader through a football team. Not necessarily a bad thing. Allows for some really funky permutations of the spirit, by short bursts of influence from other spirits, whereas a prolonged maturation in said cask may be too heavy-handed.
Laphroaig Triple Wood is essentially another young Laphroaig, much in the vein of our beloved Quarter Cask, but further mellowed in Oloroso sherry casks. Sweet meets peat. Yum. Surprisingly it is a tad subdued, but still bloody enormous. If that makes any sense. To a Laphroaig drinker, it probably does.
Nose: Vanilla cream. Pears. Creamy sweetness. Prickly and young, but still seems ‘old enough’ somehow. Seabreezes. Lemon. Nice integration of the whisky and sherry (successful…much like Ardbeg, in that way). Medicinal and iodine-heavy (of course). Smoke and peat (again…of course). Fish and salt. All told though…still seems balanced and mellowed.
Palate: A very pleasant sweetness. Tarry and brilliantly sharp. Brine and anise. Eucalyptus and big medicinal notes. Citric and oily. Earthy peat. Smoky, to be sure. Tangy and saucy. Burnt woods. Long, long linger. Green apple skins on the fade.
I had heard some rather unflattering reviews of this whisky upon release. Not sure what those folks were drinking. This is a really enjoyable drink.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt