I first reviewed Laphroaig 10 way back in my 49th review about 2.5yrs ago while at a company outing and gave it a 91. Granted, this was after a few drinks, so probably not the most reliable of reviews. When I visited Islay last June with my wife, we went to Laphroaig, and claimed the rent for our square foot of land in their peat bogs. When I got home, we saw that the mini bottle they gave was bottled at 40% ABV, while the bottle on my shelf was 43%. So today, as I drain both bottles, we’re gonna do a quick comparison of the two, side by side to see if that 3% makes any significant difference. My assumption going in is there will be very little difference between the two.
|Whisky:||Laphroaig 10 @ 40%||Laphroaig 10 @ 43%|
|Appearance||interestingly, the 40% is the slightest bit more orange. Pretty sure Laphroaig uses e150, so I’m surprised at the variation.||fairly pale yellow-gold|
|Nose||smoke, smoked meat, salt, light campfire, ash, coal, earthy peat, medicinal||medicinal, iodine, smoke, brine, light smoke, sweeter peat.|
|Palate||ashy, campfire, doused coals, smoke, peat, iodine, thin mouthfeel, smoked meat||bandaids, iodine, smoke, boggy peat, light smoke, slight sweetness, some ash, slightly less thin mouthfeel|
|Finish||medium-long, smoky||medium-long, medicinal, iodine, smoke|
I’m surprised at how different they turned out to be, and definitely didn’t think would be the case. While they hit a lot of the same tasting notes, the emphases of the two were very different, with the 40% being basically a smoke bomb and the second an iodine bomb. This difference showed up on the nose, palate and finish consistently.
Overall, I did prefer the 43% as it was more complex and had a better mouthfeel. I still scored it quite a bit lower than when I first reviewed this whisky 2.5yrs ago, but that’s probably more about my standards having been raised since then vs. a drop in quality. Big fan of this, though I still prefer the quarter cask to both versions of the 10.