Showing posts with label 18 Years. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 18 Years. Show all posts

Laphroaig 1997 (Sansibar)

”Money Money Money”

Whisky Review # 890

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Laphroaig 1997-2016 - Limited Edition
Bottled By: Sansibar, Germany - 241 Bottles
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky
Age: 18 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 53.4% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Cask
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 300-350 (September 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎I like it but it's really expensive.
Buying Advice: 😋 Not the best matured Islay I've tasted but very nice anyway!


Chardonnay (Natural Color)


Well-Matured Islay Malt. This Laphroaig still possesses most of the maritime notes of a young Islay but it presents them in a more warm and mellow way. The Nose is mainly Sweet but there are some lightly Bitter and Sour notes for balance. It's not sensational but certainly pleasant.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Campfire Smoke, Maritime Peat, Burnt Rubber, Cigar Ashes, Iodine, Hospital, Bacon and Pork on the BBQ, Lemon, Grapefruit, Red Apple, Damp Dunnage Warehouse, Salted Nuts and Menthol.
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Toffee, Biscuits, Wet Grass, Freshly printed Newspaper, Tar, Soot, Leather, Tobacco, Dark Chocolate, Dried Apricot, Herbal Tea, Pepper and Ginger.


I really like fully matured Islay Whisky and while this Laphroaig isn't the best I have tasted so far it is certainly pleasant enough. It's probably a tad too Sweet to be a real winner but I love the coating mouth-feeling that matured peated Islay Malts offer. Only the price prevents me from sipping a dram of this type of Whisky every single day. But you should certainly enjoy one if you have the chance to go to Islay. I've been lucky enough to visit Islay in 2014 and 2017 and I can only recommend it with all of my heart.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Campfire Smoke,  Maritime Peat, Cigar Ashes, Iodine, Red Apple, Lemon, Grapefruit, Menthol, Pepper, Licorice, Herbal Tea and Damp Wood.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Toffee, Dried Apricot, Straw and Grass, Bacon on the BBQ, Salted Nuts, Tobacco, Leather, Aniseed, Cinnamon and Ginger.


Middle-Long/Long. Sweet with a few Bitter and Sour notes for balance. Medium-Dry towards the end. I find Toasted Barley, slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Butter, Vanilla, Dried Apricot, Campfire Smoke, Maritime Peat, Cigar Ashes, Soot, Rubber, Tar, Charcoal, Bacon on the BBQ, Leather, Iodine, Dusty Oak, Lemon, Grapefruit, Orange-Flavored Bitter Chocolate, Cinnamon, Pepper, Ginger, Menthol, Licorice, Aniseed and Ginger.

Drinking Advice:

No need to add Water to this Laphroaig.

Rating: 87.5

Nose: 22 - Taste: 22 - Finish: 21.5 - Overall: 22

Drinking Experience Neat: Good


Laphroaig is located a few miles outside Port Ellen on the island of Islay and was founded in 1815 by Alexander & Donald Johnston. It was bought by Beam Suntory in 2014. Since, the distillery has launched a number of NAS Whiskies that received mixed critics. I find this a pity as I used to consider Laphroaig one of my favorite distilleries. The 10, the discontinued 18 and the old 15 Years are some of my all time favorites. I also love to visit the place and the people. I really hope Laphroaig is not steering too much towards mainstream Whisky but at the moment it kinda looks that way.

Sansibar Whisky is a German Indie bottler founded by Jens Drewitz and others who taste and hand-select almost all casks they buy at the distilleries.

Fully-Matured Islay Whisky is probably my favorite type of Whisky. There's no other Whisky that gives me this complete feeling of well-being on the Palate. And while this Laphroaig is a little too Sweet for me I thoroughly enjoyed the tasting session. It can't be cheap of course but US$ 300 or more is a really steep price. Do as I did and try to get a sample somewhere. It's worth the investment!


Jan van den Ende                                                               September 21, 2020

Bladnoch 1990 Wilson & Morgan Review

“Wooden Heart”

Country: Scotland 
Region: Lowlands
Brand: Bladnoch 1990 (Wilson & Morgan - Barrel Selection)
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 18 Years
ABV: 51%
Chill Filtration: No

Colour: Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose: Fruity, Malty and a bit Dusty with Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Grass, Straw, Heather-Honey, Floral Soap, Apple, Pear, Oak, Lemon Zest, Cardboard Boxes, light Herbs, Varnish and a hint of Coconuts. There's not a whole lot going on here. I believe this Bladnoch matured in an Ex-Bourbon cask but I don't get a lot of feedback from the Rum Finish. The Oak and Alcohol are present but not in a too dominating way. Do give this Bladnoch enough time in the glass to open up.     

Palate: Strong delivery thanks to the high ABV. The Wood, Spices and Alcohol are much stronger now. I also find Malted Grain, Straw, Vanilla, Apple, Pear, Lemon, Pepper, Ginger, Cardamom and Candle Wax.  

Finish: Middle Long, Woody and Spicy. The Oak and Wood Spice are quite in the lead at this point. Very Dry towards the end. I find Malted Cereals, Oak, Butter, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Straw, Orchard Fruit (Mainly Pears), Lemon, Pepper, Mint, Nutmeg, Ginger and Cardamom.

With some added Water the Alcohol retreats and that's a good thing in this case. On the Nose, Citrus Fruit like Lemon and Grapefruit become more noticeable. I don't think the Water improves the Palate and the Finish. Images of Extra Bitter Lemon popped up. For Nosing purposes alone you might add some Water but it's better to sip this Bladnoch neat.

Rating: 82.5

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

General Remarks: This Bladnoch was distilled in 1990 and bottled at Cask Strength in 2008 by Independent Bottlers Wilson & Morgan in their Barrel Selection Series. It matured in Casks # 5071 and 5072 and received a Rum Cask Finish. It costs around 100 US Dollars but the availability is limited. 

The Bladnoch Distillery is located in Bladnoch, Wigtown and was founded in 1817 by Thomas and John McClelland. It changed hands various times before being mothballed by United Distillers in 1993. A year later it was bought by Raymond Armstrong but unfortunately the distillery went into administration in 2014 and was put up for sale again. In 2015 it was bought by David Prior, an Australian businessman who wants to put Bladnoch on the whisky map again.

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Conclusion: So far I have tasted only two Bladnoch expressions and they were both quite mature with 21 - and 18 years respectively. I must admit they are not quite my style. On the Nose it's basically Orchard Fruit and Citrus and not a whole lot else. On the Palate and in the Finish the Wood and Wood Spice are quite dominant. I would love to try a 15 year old Bladnoch one day as I believe that could be the correct maturity for this Spirit. In the case of this Wilson & Morgan Bladnoch I wonder how long it was finished in Rum casks as I can hardly find any additional flavours and aromas other than those supplied by the ex-Bourbon cask. Three to five months perhaps. If you are a fan of Woody Pears Apples and Lemons this Bladnoch could be just what you're looking for. As for me, I will be on the look out for a younger whisky of this Distillery. Who knows what the new owner can deliver in the coming years! 

Jan van den Ende                                                                      April 18, 2016

Laphroaig 18 Years Review

Country: Scotland 
Region: Islay
Brand: Laphroaig 
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 18 Years
ABV: 48 %
Date: 14/06/2014

“Mainstream Laphroaig”

Colour: Bright Gold. (Caramel added).

Nose: The first impression is classic Laphroaig with Campfire Smoke, Maritime Peat, light Iodine, Tar, Burnt Rubber, BBQ, Toast and Salted Butter, Today's Newspaper, Ashes, Leather, Damp Cellar and Wet Grass. But all quite subdued and not as fierce as for instance in the 10 Years. But there is much more to this Laphroaig. When the fog has lifted I find Toffee, Smoked Almonds, Espresso, Menthol, Heather, Honey, Bitter Chocolate, Oak, Sweet Barley, Biscuits, Citrus and some Herbal Tea. In the end the Nose, though not spectacular, is quite balanced and smooth. Certainly for a Laphroaig!

The Malt Floor at Laphroaig!

Palate: Maritime Peat, light Smoke, Ashes, slightly Burned Bacon, Toffee, Dried Apricot, Aniseed, Menthol, Licorice, Salted Almonds, Heather, Oak, Wood Spice, Straw and Grass.

The Kiln at Laphroaig!

Finish: Quite Long and Dry towards the end with Maritime Peat, light Smoke, Ashes, Toast and Salted Butter, Oak, Aniseed, Licorice, Bitter Chocolate with Orange Flavour, Menthol, Black Pepper and hints of Salted Bacon and Tobacco.

The Stills at Laphroaig!

The Laphroaig 18 years does not need Water. You get too much Caramel, Toffee and Spices in my opinion.

Rating: 88

Nose: 22.5 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 22 - Overall: 22 

The Writer at the Gates of Heaven!

General Remarks. The 18 years was introduced in 2009 and replaced the highly successful 15 years. The 18 years is bottled at a higher 48% and is not Chill-Filtered. The average price amounts to around 100 US Dollars.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: The Laphroaig 18 years is certainly not a very complex Single Malt although it has some interesting Salty and Menthol elements. If you want to get to know Laphroaig, the 18 years might be an excellent place to start. It has most of the Laphroaig characteristics but never in an aggressive way. And they are accompanied by other tones as well. As a result, the Laphroaig 18 years is a very balanced, polished, smooth Single Malt. If you like Lagavulin 16 Years, you will love this one as it benefits from the higher ABV. If the 10 years is savage and rugged, the 18 years is accessible and smooth. Mainstream but in "the Laphroaig way". 

Laphroaig Distillery!

The Laphroaig Distillery.

Some Data: Laphroaig is located 2 miles east of Port Ellen on the isle of Islay, not far from Ardbeg and Lagavulin. It was founded in 1810 by two brothers, Alexander and Donald Johnston and received its license in 1815. Nowadays it is owned by Beam Inc. It's one of the few remaining distilleries with its own Maltings, accounting for around 15% of their total needs. The rest comes from the Port Ellen Malting Facility and/or the Scottish mainland. It is also the only distillery on Islay that holds a Royal Warrant, granted by Prince Charles in 1994. The Distillery possesses a large stainless steel Mash Tun, 6 Wash Backs (Stainless Steel), 3 Wash Stills and 4 Spirit Stills. In 2013 they produced 3,2 million litres. Laphroaig means Beautiful Hollow by the Broad Bay. 

The Famous Peat Smoke at Laphroaig!

The water for the distillery is sourced from the nearby Kilbride Dam. The Distillery is open all year (Monday - Friday 09.30 to 17.30) and from March to December also on Saturday and Sunday from 10.00 - 16.00. The standard tour costs 3 pounds and there are various in-depth tours as well. If you become a Friend of Laphroaig (free of charge) you become the owner of a square foot of Laphroaig land. Along with a certificate, you can actually plant your flag on the land and, once per year, collect your rent in the form of a dram!

A Friendly Welcome at the Visitor Centre!

We visited Laphroaig on Thursday May 15, 2014. We opted for the Standard & Flavour Tour and were lucky again! We did the Standard Tour with only a small group. Our hostess was very knowledgeable and sympathetic. Then we had a very pleasant private Tasting Session in the lounge with David. Lots of fun! We tasted the 10 Year, the Select, the Quarter Cask, the 18 Years and the 25 Years. The Visitor Centre and Shop are quite nice. It's a pity they only sell miniatures of the 10 Years. On the other hand you are allowed to take pictures wherever you want. If we were challenged to nominate the best overall visitor experience, we would certainly choose Laphroaig!  

The Famous Warehouse at Laphroaig!

We really liked our visit to Laphroaig. Great Tour and Great People. Later in the week we just passed by again to have a dram with David. We truly became Friends of Laphroaig!

Flavour Tasting at Laphroaig!

Jan van den Ende                                                                    June 14, 2014