Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Review: Laphroaig Triple Wood

Laphroaig Triple Wood
Price: $60-$80
Strength: 48%

The label explains the three woods: "matured in ex-Bourbon barrels and Quarter Casks, then finished in European Oak."  So basically, take Laphroaig Quarter Cask and finish it for a few months in sherry casks.  The peat style here is classic Laphroaig in all its boggy, briny, burning seaweed loveliness.  The flavors here are (as one would expect) very similar to the Quarter Cask: lots of oak, peat, and sea with some vanilla tea.  However, the sherry finishing does have a couple of effects.  First, it restrains the bitter oakiness of the quarter cask finish (which I noted in my head-to-head comparison of Quarter Cask and the 10-year-old Cask Strength).  The Triple Wood pulls back that slightly over-brewed quality of Quarter Cask but without undue restraint on the peat.

In addition, the sherry finish adds a sweet syrupy element that balances the oak and peat well and gives it some additional depth.  The sherry influence here is only slight and I probably would not pick it out as such if not for the foreknowledge of the cask process (much like with Kilchoman Spring 2011).  Non chill-filtered and bottled at 48% (which may be the perfect proof), Triple Wood has great feel and needs no water.

I love the balance of peat and oak backed by vanilla tea in Quarter Cask, but I love Triple Wood even more and am rating it a notch above.  One of the best young Islay whiskies I've had, and my favorite regular Laphroaig to date.  95 points (A).

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