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The 2014 bottling of Laphroaig’s much-acclaimed cask-strength 25 year old. Matured in a combination of Oloroso sherry casks and bourbon barrels, both of which were first-filled.
Laphroaig 25 Year Old single malt whiskey gets its sherry and oak flavors from being rested in European Oloroso Sherry Casks.
Mixed with a smooth and creamy sweetness from ex-American Bourbon Barrels and quickly followed by an Islay peat tang. This bright and rich red-gold whiskey is ultra smooth thanks to 25 years of gentle maturing.
[May, 2019] To make this review more comprehensible I compare this 2014 edition in a head-to-head with the most recent 2018 bottling (WB id 118318). And this head-to-head yielded an interesting result: The 2014 clearly represents the old traditional style of Scotch whisky while the 2018 shows some aspects of the modern whiskies already – most probably they designed the 2018 batch selecting respective "modern style" casks this way (because I doubt they changed the production regime in-between 1988 and 1993)…
I recommend the 2018 for modern whisky style lovers while the 2014 is a suggestion to all that prefer the more delicate-balanced old style drams. I like both, but in doubt I opt for the 2014…
The colour of both editions is pale gold, maybe the 2014 is a tiny notch darker. The 2014 offers a much more delicate nose than the 2018 which is bolder mainly on peaty-medicinal aromas. The 2014’s nose is more complex offering fruits, honeys, waxes, gauzes, machine oils, seaweed and and and… All in a balanced setting absolutely free of any off-note. I like it better than the more impressive but less interesting 2018 that nevertheless is on an excellent level too, no doubt.
The taste of the 2014 is multi-layered on sweet molten sugars first followed by peaty-maritime flavours followed by ripe fruits followed by spices followed by … find out yourself! The layers combine towards the finish to a tasty amalgam of sweet honey-glazed fruits flambéed over a peaty bonfire and pepped up with several delicious spices and herbs. Wow, this is dangerously quaffable! Compared to this the 2018 is much bolder and "oomphy" on bitter peaty and wooden flavours in a fine combo but it clearly lacks the complexity of the 2014.
The initial mouthfeel is warming and instantly coats the whole of it with a creamy texture, no distracting moments at all. The finish is very long and vanishes slowly in several fading waves that add waxy-mineral notes and flavours of tobacco and tea. Beside the latter there are no bitter or astringent moments. The 2018 is again more impressive here but not as complex as the 2014. Water releases more aromas and flavours with the 2014 but it turns the dram flatter, unfortunalety. I like the 2014 best when neat.