Laphroaig

Laphroaig 12 Year Old 1996 Bass (58.6%, Lockett Bros, Bourbon HH #7288, 276 bottles, 2009)

Whisky Review: ‘The Bass’ Laphroaig 12 Year Old 1996

  • Category: Islay single malt scotch whisky
  • Origin: Laphroaig Distillery
  • Bottling: Locket Bros
  • ABV: 58.6% ABV
  • Cost: £39.99

What they say

The Bass Single Islay Malt Scotch Whisky, Laphroaig 1996 aged 12 years, bottled at Cask Strength 58.6% ABV. Outturn of 276 bottles, Distilled 17/10/1996, bottled 27/05/2009 from cask # 7288 bourbon hogshead. Sourced and bottled by A. D. Rattray for Lockett Bros, North Berwick.

What I say

I sampled this little beauty the first time I visited Lockett Bros in North Berwick. Despite their having just a few bottles left of their own bottle ‘Fidra’ 17 Years Old, cask strength (60.2% ABV), Glencadam that was selling like hot cakes, it was the pure peaty power of this young Laphroaig that nearly knocked me off my feet. I just couldn’t leave without buying one.

My tasting notes:

  • Appearance: Pure gold
  • Nose: Deep earthy peat, sweet peanut and creosote, virgin oak wood, almonds and coconut hints
  • Taste: Like pouring fire into your mouth, this quickly extinguishes and mellows and then fills your mouth with a warming peaty spice, elements of cinnamon and nutmeg enter and the prickly pepper heat builds and subsides to reveal pencil shavings, vanilla and tangy/tart green apples, all deliciously oily and mouth-coating throughout
  • Finish: Hints of sea spray and marzipan and stomach/heart warming peat vapours rise up and build, nutty and fizzy sherbet elements give way to a remarkably smooth though vaporous finish

Overall

If only more were available! Between this and Laphroaig’s staple 10 Years Old I have become a staunch Laphroaig fan and friend. Hence my religious purchase of their Cairdeas offering to their Friends of Laphroaig (FoL) each year. None have disappointed. Laphroaig’s no-nonsense intense peaty style actually lends itself rather well to cask strength whisky. Paula gets a little upset when I still reek of creosote and peat smoke fumes hours after drinking it – that’s just value for money to me! Surprisingly I struggle to find any harsh phenolics in this Laphroaig – something I am acutely sensitive too due to working with pure phenol in the laboratory for many years. I don’t know if the quoted 40ppm phenolics just subtly blend into what I think of as the stereotypical Laphroaig taste or if their distillation process and maturation removes the halogenated [chloro-phenol] most medicinal/TCP-esque nasal offenders? Either way this one seriously warms the cockles!

Score 89/100

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