By Father John Rayls
I should confess that I bought a bottle of the Laphroaig Triple Wood for the purpose of reviewing it about a month ago. However, my start was delayed, and the Scotch proved so good that my son and I polished it off before I could start writing. So, I’m now on my 2nd round of this lightning in a bottle.
The Isle of Islay has outdone itself with this magnificent creation. Of course, hardcore Scotch drinkers may long for a “powerful peat” punch in the face, but bourbon drinkers, specifically, should give this whisky some very serious consideration. The aging process begins in ex-bourbon barrels. It’s then transferred to the very old school quarter casks, and finally moved into large Oloroso sherry butts. Theoretically, the small quarter casks contribute to its depth and fullness. It may also speed the maturing process, as small barrels often do. The large European sherry butts slow the maturation process which leads to a “soft, complex and fully rounded flavor.”
Laphroaig Triple Wood is a non chill-filtered whisky, which might lead to some cloudiness when mixed with water or ice. However, it is bottled at 96 proof (43% abv), which should prevent most cloudiness from forming.
The appearance of the bottle and its container are all classic Laphroaig, giving the buyer confidence that she/he are going to get exactly what they paid for. It’s the dark green bottle with the off-white label.
In the glass the liquid retails the darker golden color apparent even through the dark green glass of the bottle. The viscosity appears higher than many whiskies and the legs are long and visible.
The nose is much less medicinal than many other scotches, but there is some of that. It’s combined with some molasses, saltiness, caramel nuttiness with vanilla. A light undertone of smoke completes the enticing aromas. It actually brought back some childhood memories of buying and eating a Payday candy bar standing in my local drug store.
Laphroaig indicates the body of the whisky is powerful yet creamy, and I couldn’t agree more. It is buttery smooth and oily, with flavors of toffee, vanilla and light saltiness. The smoke is ever present, but it’s a gentler, kinder smoke. The whisky is complex, with all kinds of things happening on the palate. In spite of the oiliness, the mouth is left with a dry musty feel before and during the finish, which is a long luxurious journey on an old dirt country road. It’s long and slow and full of discovery. It starts at the back of the mouth and lingers there, slowly migrating to mid-mouth for a time before very, very gradually fading out. The slight mustiness continues with a very pleasant sweet spice rush. Be patient because it is a quiet, gentle long finish. There is a slight sweet jam flavor that is a subtle foundation to all the flavor action that’s going on with both the palate and the finish. The Triple Wood is an interesting experience that I can’t recommend enough.
Although Laphroaig Triple Wood has historically been a limited release whisky, it is apparently becoming more and more available. You can find it on the Internet for anywhere from $60.00 to $85.00 bottle. Here in San Antonio, my son got it to me for $61.00 plus tax. I say thank you kindly!
You owe it to yourself to give this scotch a ride. You won’t be sorry.