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February 26, 2014

Laphroaig’s 10-Year-Old Cask Strength Belies Its Age

By Chris Boyle

caskstrengthForget fortune, Laphroaig’s 10-Yearl-Old Cask Strength favors the bold.

One of the biggest, boldest whiskies to emerge from the Islay distillery of Laphroaig, the 10-Year-Old Cask Strength is not for the faint of palate, boasting a smoky peat presence throughout its entire taste profile. Bottled straight from the barrel and barrier-filtered only to remove the char of the American oak barrels, this single malt is pure and unfussed-with, a liquid embodiment of the rough countryside that gave birth to it.

Location aside, however, the 10-Year-Old Cask Strength derives much of its distinct personality from a special storage process on the upper floors of the Laphroaig warehouse, where drier conditions evaporate the water faster, producing richer and, yes, stronger whisky. While those batches stored in the lower, more-humid floors of the warehouse are traditionally bottled at 43%, the early batches of 10-Year-Old Cask Strength have emerged at 58.6%, ensuring one of the most engaging drinking experiences in the price range. A coconut cream nose and dry finish make the proof immediately drinkable with a splash of water to open up the profile, propelling Laphroaig’s latest cask strength bottling into the pantheon of their previous releases, which have accumulated over 22 international awards since 2010.

Beyond the bottle, the 10-Year-Old Cask Strength comes with Laphroaig’s most famous perk: A lifetime lease on one-square-foot of Islay land outside of the Laphroaig distillery. All you have to do is pour a dram, register as a Friend of the distillery, and rest easy knowing that your name, like Laphroaig’s, is now part of whisky royalty.

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