The Laphraoig Triple Wood was the whisky equivalent of the Moby Dick for me and a good whisky friend of mine (Igal). A few months ago all FOL received an email from Laphraoig’s John Campbell announcing that the triple wood will be sold to FOL’s over the internet in limited quantities. What could be better? A 1 litre bottle previously only available at travel retail, and a reasonable cost, and 10 quid shipping? In addition i had 5 quid off form last year’s Cairdeas 2009 incident (very slow shipping and 5 quid discount given to all those who got their bottles very late).
Happily i placed my order at the Laphraoig site, and awaited my order , praying for the customs gods that the parcel will not be intercepted by the evil Israel customs. A few weeks afterwards, i received my voucher from the Israeli post to contact their office and receive the package by courier. Happily i phoned and inquired about the customs, and i was told that the bottle arrived “broken” and it will be returned to sender… The same day i got a message from my friend Igal who ordered the exact same expression and also was told his bottle was “broken”. Very weird coincidence right?
After a few more weeks, and having contacted Laphraoig’s charming ladies (they are really nice ladies), i was told that a replacement bottle has been shipped to both of us. Again, after a few weeks of anticipation , the bottles arrives, and i am told that due to customs i need to pay around 200 quid, to ‘free’ the bottle from customs, Insane…
Needless to say, Sadly , we both returned the bottles to Islay , and didn’t accept the huge tax laid on us. of course we were credited the amount without any costs by the Laphraoig excellent customer services, but – We did not get to sample that precious nectar.
A few months after, Kfir visited his family in London, and brought back with him a bottle of the TW, which we finally were able to taste and enjoy. Was it worth all the trouble?
A little about the TW: Triple wood is really a Laphraoig Quarter Cask (aged first in bourbon casks, then in smaller quarter casks, which have a bigger surface to liquid ratio, thus maturing the spirit faster) which is finally finished in Oloroso Sherry butts. Essentially it is the “Distillery Edition” version of the Quarter Cask expression (if we can borrow this notion from Diageo).
Laphraoig Triple Wood , 48% ABV , £56 (Travel Retail only)
Nose: Peat covered with sweeter sherry notes. Smoky stuff, like a barbecued steak in barbecue sauce in sweet marinade mixed with Teriyaki. The peat smoke is toned down by the sherry influence , which is not very surprising (see Lagavulin DE, Talisker DE). But the Laphraoig essence is definitely there. Medicinal notes are there. It’s a laphraoig after all.
Palate: Wood smoke, peat and vanilla. Ample body, and impact. sweeter and fruitier than the QC, but with a nice balance of sweet-peat. When you roll it in your mouth you get some big tannins and winey notes.
Finish : Long, smoke, ashtray, double espresso, chocolate, and some traces of fruit. Decent finish!
This is a lovely expression, but i am not sure how i stand when comparing it to the ‘regular’ QC. On the one hand the sweeter tones, do add to the complexity and richness of the dram. On the other side, The sherry notes do ‘tone down’ the peat and it’s a bit muted and less biting than the regular QC. So, it’s a trade-off.
If i have to choose, i will name the QC as the winner here, it’s a better dram all in all. But, for those moments when you want a bit more than a peat profile, the TW is a good option. I do not plan to stock this one in my bar, but hey, i would very much like the odd dram here and there when visiting my mate Kfir. Whisky is best enjoyed with friends.