Showing posts with label Laphroaig An Cuan Mor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Laphroaig An Cuan Mor. Show all posts

Laphroaig An Cuan Mor Review

“Surprisingly Different”

Whisky Review # 676

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Laphroaig An Cuan Mor
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS (Said To Be Around 10 Years)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 48%
Maturation: Bourbon Casks with Sherry Cask Finish     
Chill Filtration: No       
Price Range: On average around US$ 110 (January 2018). 
Buying Advice: Difficult. It's too expensive given its obvious youth. And it's not my favourite Laphroaig flavour-wise! But it's a well-made Single Malt and a different type of Laphroaig so if you like the Aroma/Flavour profile give it a try!

Colour: Amber with shades of Orange (Artificially Coloured)

Nose: Pleasant although the Alcohol indicates a relatively young Spirit. The New Wood is quite noticeable and it has been polished with Furniture Wax or so it seems at least. The Earthy Peat and BBQ Smoke are there but they certainly do not overpower the other Aromas. This is not at all your typical Islay Peat-Smoke bomb. Around 25 ppm I would guess. On the Nose, the An Cuan Mor is Sweet, Sour, Salty, Floral and Mineral. I find Toasted Cereals, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Heather-Honey, Wet Grass, Wet Rocks, Brine, Iodine, Soot, Dried Fruit like Apricot and Figs, Nuts, Leather, Lemon, Orange Peel, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Charred Oak and hints of Plastic, Cured Meat, Cedar Wood and Mint. It's not at all what I expected to be honest. It's amazing how much Peat/Smoke was absorbed by the Fresh Wood. As a result, the Nose is quite balanced. I wonder how good this Single Malt would be with some 5-7 years extra in the Ex-Bourbon casks. But that's day-dreaming. Still, I like the Nose!

Palate: A Bit Young and Edgy. I don't find the same balance as on the Nose. It's Bitter-Sweet, slightly Sour, Dry and quite Spicy. I find Toasted Cereals, Brown Sugar, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Dried Fruit, Seville Oranges, Earthy Peat, BBQ Smoke, Iodine, Band-Aids, Soot, Ashes, Burnt Heather, Charred Oak, Pepper, Nutmeg, Clove, Ginger, Licorice, Cured Meat, Herbal Tea, Strong Black Espresso, Dark Chocolate and used Leather Horse Saddles. The Alcohol is quite noticeable.         

Finish: Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet. Quite Dry and Tannic towards the end. A very strong Licorice note. I also find Toasted Cereals, slightly Burnt Toast, Dried Fruit, Nuts, Salted Caramel, Farmyard, Earthy Peat, BBQ Smoke, Soot, Ashes, Tar, Iodine, Seville Orange, Grapefruit, Herbal Tea, Dark Chocolate, Espresso, Bacon on the BBQ, Alcohol, Charred Oak, Pepper, Clove, Nutmeg, Ginger and used Leather Horse Saddles.             

Drinking Advice:

The An Cuan Mor does not improve with added Water.    

Rating: 85.5       

Nose: 22.5 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21

Image result for laphroaig an cuan mor

General Remarks:

🏣   The Distillery and Today's Whisky:

Laphroaig was founded in 1815 and is located close to Port Ellen on the isle of Islay. It's one of the few distilleries that still operates an own Malting Floor that covers around 20% of their needs. It currently produces around 3.3 million litres   of Spirit on an annual basis of which 70% is destined for Single Malts. The rest is used a.o. in the well-known Teachers Blend. Actually, the core range includes the NAS Select, the 10 Years, the Quarter Cask, the Lore, the Triple Wood and the 25 Years. Laphroaig is one of my favourite distilleries to visit. Great Tours, great people and the smell of that peated smoke is unforgettable. All the pictures in this post were taken by my brother in law Jan Bronkhorst during our visits to Laphroaig in 2014 and 2017.

The An Cuan Mor (Gaelic for "Big Ocean") is a reference to Laphroaig's location. It was launched in 2013, in principal as a Travel Retail Bottling only. But you can find it on the Internet as well in the meantime at selected shops.

🍷  The Spirit:

The distillery operates three Wash Stills and four Spirit Stills all with ascending Lyne arms. They produce a full-bodied Smoky, Briny and Medicinal spirit. The Water is sourced from the Kilbride dam.

🌲  The Wood:

The Spirit for this Single Malt matured for around 8 years in Fresh American White Oak Bourbon barrels (Maker's Mark) before being finished for around 2 more years in Fresh European Oak, that probably was seasoned with Sherry.

Drinking Experience: Very Interesting. Different! Good Nose. 

Conclusion: A very interesting Nosing and Tasting session. Quite unusual Islay Malt. You know it's a young Whisky but it's extremely interesting to note to what extend the Fresh Wood is able to absorb lots of the Peat and Smoke so typical for a young Islay. A pity it does not absorb the Alcohol as well! As a result, the An Cuan Mor is very balanced on the Nose for a young Islay Single Malt. I can't say the same about Palate and Finish I'm afraid. There the Youth becomes more clear and gives a Nervous, Edgy feeling to the Spirit. So while I think it's a well-made Single Malt and an interesting Maturation experiment, I don't count the An Cuan Mor among my favourite Laphroaigs. Did I forget to say it's too expensive given its Youth? Well, it is!

Jan van den Ende                                                                 January 11, 2018