Signatory Vintage: Laphroaig 1998 (Scottish Islay Single Malt Whisky: 14 year: 46% ABV)

Visual: Very light grain colour.

Viscosity: Very slow, puckers to middle sized streaks.

Nose: Butterscotch. Salt. Medicinal. Lemon sherbet. Honeycomb. Touch of oak. White grapes. Smoke and peat. Water lightens to a sulphur style.

Body: Good peat. White grapes. Butterscotch. Custard. Water adds meat broth, syrup and salt.

Finish: Smoke. Light oak. White grapes. Dry. Water lightens and adds beef slices. Some treacle and milk chocolate for sweetness.

Conclusion: An independent bottling of Laphroaig. Should be worth an experiment. This comes in much sweeter than the official bottling. It is smooth and without and hint of alcohol kick which allows real juicy grapes and sweet butterscotch to come through.

Before anyone calls heresy I will mention that there is still that medicinal and salt touch to the aroma . The body does lack a lot of Laphroaig’s traditional harsher elements thought it emphasises the peat and meat flavours. It is still Laphroaig but with a change of emphasis.

It is a refined Laphroaig, smoother even still than the quarter cask but without that lovely level of complexity.  It does have a great mix of Islay character and lovely sweetness.  Water makes even sweeter and more butterscotch dominated but I will say that the brasher character you get neat is much more to my taste.

A whisky for when you want to dance with the bigger flavours of Islay but don’t want it to punish you for it. Not the quintessential Islay but an exceedingly good bottling. I would highly recommend it. Distinctly Laphroaig and yet still distinctly its own thing.

Background: Bottled 2012 and non chill filtered, bottled from a hogshead cask. This was drunk at the tasting rooms and was one of the new bottlings they had got in.  I don’t often see independent bottlings of Laphroaig and it is a bit of a favourite so I decided to grab it.