Shouldn’t 25 year old siblings taste the same? After all they were born and raised ( we hope ) on Islay. They both share Spanish and American heritage. They both have a yellow gold hue appearance, round bodies and have the same smokey nose .
The nature vs. nurture debate is one of the oldest issues in Whisky (the other is did the Irish invent Whiskey). The debate centers on the contributions of materials (Nature) such as cereals, yeasts, wood and Production Methods (nurture) such as cut, still variation, storage methods.
Well let’s taste them and see what we can discern about these two 25 year old siblings.
LAPHROAIG 25 YEAR OLD 40 % ABV. PARTLY MATURED IN OLOROSO SHERRY CASK
NOSE: Aged smoke, winey, almonds and soft apples & pears
TASTE: Sweet ripe nectarines. Raisins
FINISH: Medium and a bit more
ASSESSMENT: Nice Laphroaig even without the big robust smoke. Could use with a little more % of alcohol
LAPHROAIG 25 YEAR OLD 51 % ABV. PARTLY MATURED IN OLOROSO SHERRY CASK 2009 EDITION
NOSE: Lively smoke but more medicinal than the 40 %. Light bubble-gum and pears
TASTE: Smooth sweet tropical fruit. Creamy caramel. Stunning
FINISH: long. A little harsh in the middle then warm at the end
ASSESSMENT: Liked the taste far better than the nose. Nice dram
Although they shared many similar traits, they really tasted different. Was it the wood influence (first / second / third fill casks)? Maybe the blender vatted older Laphroaig with the 25 year old casks or more bourbon casks in one. Maybe one was matured on Islay and one was matured on the mainland.
I say vive la difference. Without some difference by unknown factors or change in the process our endless quest to find the perfect dram would cease. After all it’s all about the journey.