Laphroaig Lore. NAS. ABV 48%. Non-Chill Filtered.
Laphroaig Lore is a new no-age statement single malt that is now part of the core offerings from Laphroaig. Apparently, from what I have read, it is going to replace Laphroaig 18. Laphroaig Lore is an unspecified mix of old (some distilled as far back as 1993) and younger whisky (the youngest have been aged 7 years). Given the age range, there is also variation in the types of casks including a mix of bourbon and sherry of varying dimensions (e.g., quarter casks, hogsheads). It is marketed by Laphroaig as “the richest of the rich”.
The nose brings peat smoke up front and a bit of candied apple. With a second pass, there are some of the Laphroaig medicinal notes and black pepper. On the palate, the peat and smoke are up front, with a sweet element that gradually moves to citrus, particularly lime. There is a light oily coating and on second sip I find spice and pepper sitting on the tongue, surrounded by smoke. What comes across is a balance of the peat smoke with the sweet and soft spices. It is a fun complex whisky, I find hints at other flavor elements, like liquorice emerging as I enjoy the dram. The finish is warm, and long. The smoke maintains but is not overpowering, it mixes with sweet and peppery influences.
The balance I find in this whisky likely reflects the blending of older and younger casks. It has a smoothness associated with more aging, yet just enough bite to hint at the younger whisky elements.
This whisky fits my preferences, it is clearly an Islay whisky. But not an overpowering one, and indeed, it might well be a good choice for those who want to start to explore Islay whiskies. It has all the elements, without the more aggressive peat, smoke, and medicinal profiles.
The one caution, as we move forward with these NAS offerings, is that the vatting can change for future batches. A shift in the mix of older and newer whiskeys would alter the balance that I find so appealing in this current bottling.
But, for the moment, I think it is a very good Islay whisky in a price range that is acceptable.