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  • Writer's pictureHarold

Laphroaig 30 Year Duo

The inaugural week of had to end with a bang, so luckily, I had JUST the right tasting in mind. I’ve been regretfully sitting on both of these samples for almost THREE years now, with the hopes of one day getting to write some proper notes down. And now that the site’s gone from dream to reality, I’m thrilled I finally get to sit down with some of Islay’s finest.

Laphroaig 30 Year  “Circa 1999-2008” - 43%
Bottle Image Credit: Spirit Radar

Laphroaig 30 Year

“Circa 1999-2008” - 43%

I know, the year thing is bothering me too! Unfortunately, I was not the original owner of this bottle, nor was the person whom I acquired the sample from. At that point, it falls to bottle codes or some other sort of label identification to figure out the specifics, but alas we were not able to pin down a year at that time. Normally, it wouldn’t make a huge difference as far as taste, since most distilleries go for flavor profile consistency, but this older version is famous for having two different versions. One, of which had a considerable larger amount of sherry casks (the earlier years allegedly). Oh well…a little mystery never hurts with whisky sometimes. Let’s just hope my sample hasn’t oxidized!

Appearance: Tawny, Auburn

First Whiff: Duck sauce

Nose: : Subdued, but there’s clearly some nice old wood here. Caramel covered cedar at first, opens up to the classic tropical side of Laphroaig’s spirit…pineapples, banana taffy, apricots. Some cinnamon dusted apricots and peaches. Salted caramel. Really quite beautiful, and seemingly little sherry influence thus far.

Palate: Super creamy, obviously dulled a bit due to the filtration and abv, but still rich with flavor. The peat was seemingly aged out of the nose but finally made its appearance on the tongue with those classic TCP, iodine-y medicinal notes made ever-popular from Islay's southern distilleries. Less fruit centric than hoped. Some subtle melon and red apples (Gala/Red delicious) towards the end…not too sweet.

Finish: : Good amount of body the whole way through. Low acidity and very little, of what I would call ginger spices stick around.

Summary: Hate to be the “cask strength” guy, but this obviously would’ve played better on the palate/finish with even the slightest of bumps to the alcohol. Still, there’s some wonderful, quite obviously American old wood doing its thing here. Luckily the lovely Beam Suntory folks seem to agree with most of the whisky loving community, these days and have bottled their later releases at more expressive levels.


Laphroaig  1989/30 Year  |The Ian Hunter Story - Book 2| Spanish Oak Oloroso – 48.2%
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase


1989/30 Year

|The Ian Hunter Story - Book 2| Spanish Oak Oloroso – 48.2%

Thankfully, we have very little mystery surrounding this one. The second edition of the (now completed) “Book Series” was a major eye opener, when released back in 2020. There aren’t many distilleries that can bottle such a large, albeit limited, release of 30 year old stock…especially from Islay, let alone fully aged in Spanish oak oloroso casks. The oldest, fully sherry matured Laphroaig I can recollect trying was the 22 year old US exclusive single cask, bottled by Elixir a few years back, which I remember fondly. Let’s see how that spirit ages with a few more years under its belt.

Appearance: Oloroso/old oak

First Whiff: Warm, flat cherry Coca Cola.

Nose: Heavily wood driven, as expected. BOLD…easily quaffable. Slightly nutty and dry...the dirty/dryer side of oloroso seemingly. Dark chocolate with stewed warm fruits (cherries, red grapes, raisins) buried underneath the meatier style of peat here…cooked, honey glazed ham.

Palate: Decadence. Leathery. Hits perfectly with softer tannins than the nose would prepare you for. Big, earthy tobacco notes. Savory, turkey gravy… almost bordering on umami but not quite. Stewed fruits turn into prunes and figs, with a spicy/floral mix of cloves and marjoram underneath.

Finish: Gentle and warming. There’s a sort of minty-ness I can’t quite sort out hanging around. Not like the old wood or old Highlands/Speyside type, but a more confectionary…over-chewed Big Red type of feeling that fades into a cabbage soup type funkiness.

Summary: A modern, sherry-driven style of Laphroaig…yes. But one they’ve been doing exceptionally well (at least as of late), in my opinion. They’ve managed to find a great balance with their sherried cask maturation; as to never let the cask completely overwhelm the spirit. I can’t imagine this getting much better, honestly. A fitting end for the first week, I believe.



Laphroaig 30 Year Duo


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