Laphroaig Lore Review

“Where Do We Go From Here”

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand:Laphroaig Lore
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
ABV: 48% 
Barrier Filtration: Yes 
Whisky Review # 613
Buying Advice:😡  Way too expensive. Go for the 10 or the Quarter Cask!

Colour: Golden Corn (Most likely Artificially Coloured)

Nose: Young and slightly Dirty with Cold Smoke, Dirty Earth, Soot, PVC Pipes, Tar, Ashes, Diesel Oil, Leather, Iodine, Brine, Wet Stones, Burnt Toast, Charred Oak, Damp Cellar and Shell Fish. I don't get a significant Sherry influence. A little bit of Salted Nuts, Dried Fruit and Straw. After a while in the glass I get some Vanilla, Toffee, Caramel, Cocoa Powder, Lemon, Milk Chocolate, Ripe Bananas and Apple Sauce. The Spices include Ginger, Cinnamon and Cardamon. And finally quite a bit of Menthol. It's not as outspoken as the 10 Years and not near as mature as the (former) 18 years. It's another attempt to create a young mainstream Laphroaig. Gone are the days that you either loved this distillery or hated it. Good for sales without any doubt. A pity for those Whisky fans who loved the distinguished characteristics of each distillery. If the trend continues this way the whole concept of Single Malt will be hollowed out and Whiskies will merely be distinguished by type. Something like Sweet, Medium Sweet, Dry, Lightly Peated and Heavily Peated. And those varieties could be made in a few huge producing facilities. Am I too pessimistic here? Or are we slowly but surely being pushed in that direction! Only time will tell! Let's stop the ranting and return to the Nose of the Lore. It's okay but nothing special. And that just adds to my case! Because a Single Malt should not be just okay. That's something for boring Blends.     

Palate: There's a Young feel to it on the one hand but it's a bit Oily at the same time. I find Cold Smoke, Dirty Earth, Brine, Ashes, Soot, Tar, Iodine, Leather, Plastic, Caramel, Toffee, Sour Cherries, Green Apple, Pear, Pepper, Cinnamon, Clove, Nutmeg, Lemon, Grapefruit, Gooseberries, Licorice, Dried Fruit, Smoked Fish or Shell Fish, Aniseed and hints of Tobacco and Chocolate.   

Finish: Middle-Long and quite Dry. The Ashes and Dirty Earth stay a little longer on your Palate. The Finish is mainly Bitter-Sweet with some Mineral and Sour notes as well. I find Toasted Barley, Charred Oak, Ashes, Cold Smoke, Soot, Iodine, Wet Grass, Vanilla, Green Apple, Pear, Salt, Gooseberries, Raspberries, Licorice, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg, Aniseed, Fish and/or Shell Fish on the BBQ and hints of Tobacco, Leather and Cocoa Powder. After a few sips the Bitterness seems to increase and that's not a good thing.

I added a little Water and on the Nose some extra Fruit appears. Mainly Pears and Apricots. A little Orange perhaps. Palate and Finish become too Thin for my taste. Better sip it neat. 

Rating: 83.5       

Nose: 21 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 21

General Remarks: 

Laphroaig was founded in 1815 by Alexander and Donald Johnston. It is located close to Port Ellen on the island of Islay. It is currently owned by Beam Suntory. The core range consists of the Select NAS, the 10, the 10 CS, the Quarter Cask, the Triple Wood and the Lore that was added in 2016. The lack of older stocks forces the distillery to launch more NAS Expressions. Unfortunately, the very nice 18 Years old was discontinued in 2015. In fact the Lore seeks to replace the 18 Years. 

The Lore was released in 2016. Lore means the verbal passing of tradition and skill and current Distillery manager John Campbell created the Lore to celebrate the fact that Laphroaig has been made this way during the last 200 years. The Lore is said to contain Spirit that is at least 7 years old but some 1993 vintage is in the mix as well. The Whisky matured in various types of casks that include First & Refill Ex-Bourbon casks ,First Fill Ex-Oloroso Casks and some Whisky that matured in Quarter casks and was finished in Virgin European Oak casks. It is not at all cheap with prices mostly in the 85-125 US Dollar range (April 2017).

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: I can understand the current dilemmas of the Whisky Market that has grown much faster as expected. This is mainly a result of the concentration of the production. Big companies have ample means to market their whiskies on a world wide scale, something that would be impossible if all distilleries would still be independent and/or family run. As a result of the fast growing consumption stocks have been dwindling at an alarming rate and many older whiskies needed to be discontinued and replaced by younger NAS Whiskies. Normally, younger whiskies should be cheaper than older ones and the industry needed to be resourceful to maintain - or even increase margins. As a result we are being bombarded by nice stories, beautiful names, exotic finishing, high ABV and...high prices. The Lore is a good example of this. It's basically a young whisky with added Wood contact and a small percentage of older Vintage Malt. That does not make it a bad Whisky of course and I would happily pay 50 US Dollars for a bottle. But at a 125 US Dollars the Price/Quality ratio sucks big time. The Lore simply is not worth that kind of money. Better stay with the 10 Years or the Quarter Cask.    

Jan van den Ende                                                                      April 24, 2017

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