Laphroaig 16-year is a fusion of familiarity and unexpected Scotch tastes

Jordan Allison whiskey photo, photo provided by Jordan Allison
Jordan Allison whiskey photo, photo provided by Jordan Allison /

Laphroaig is a name known among whiskey lovers that either instills joy or disdain just by the mention of its name.  Self-proclaimed as “The most richly flavoured of all Scotch whiskies”, Laphroaig absolutely lives up to its own branding and delivers an explosion of flavor that you either love or hate.

An incredibly peaty Scotch from the Islay region of Scotland, Laphroaig as a whole is an absolute delight to peat lovers that crave a rich, smoky Scotch. Laphroaig 16 however, is a slightly more subdued beast that still delights.

Laphroaig released a 15 and 16-year iteration for their 200 year anniversary in 2015. They have decided to re-release the 16-year as another limited run.

I was fortunate enough to find a couple of bottles and snagged them up as quickly as I could. The 16-year is bottled at 48% and was aged for its entire life in ex-bourbon casks.

If you’re familiar with the standard Laphroaig 10 offering, then the 16 will seem familiar, but much more refined and balanced. The extra 6 years in the cask has absolutely helped to mellow out the rich monstrosity that is Laphroaig 10.

Laphroaig 16-year nose

  • Peat
  • Smoke
  • Lemon
  • Brine
  • Honey

On the nose, there is only a slight hint of peatiness in comparison to the 10-year, but there’s still enough to let you know that it’s still an Islay. Lemon and honey are wafting around and a briny saltiness is also present.

Laphroaig 16-year palate

  • Peat
  • Soft tropical fruits
  • Sour pineapple
  • Smoke
  • Honey
  • Vanilla
  • Spice

The palate is arguably the most different. There’s an earthiness from the peat that is followed by tropical fruit, reminiscent of unripe pineapple. The smoke from the peat becomes pronounced and intertwines with a honey sweetness and a nice note of vanilla from the ex-bourbon casks. There’s just a hint of spice as the whiskey hits the back of the tongue.

Laphroaig 16-year finish

The finish is long and warm with the spice gently lingering. The pineapple is still present but doesn’t tarry nearly long enough for my likings.

Overall, I find this to be one of the most approachable Laphroaig offerings that I’ve had the opportunity to try.

Someone beginning to dabble in Islay Scotch would perhaps find this to be more palatable than the 10-year as it is tame in comparison, while someone who is an old salt can appreciate it for its subtleties that may be lost on those unfamiliar with the brand.

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