Douglas Laing Laphroaig Tasting Notes

Posted: September 8, 2011 in Laphroaig, Scotch Whisky A-G

Douglas Laing Directors Cut Laphroaig 1996 (15 year old) 57.2%

Bourbon/ Code: DIR0019/ Dist: Oct 1996 Btl: Apr 2012

Tasted: Apr 2012/ Quite full, sweet-ish and very creamy aromas of salt encrusted, crunchy barley which you can almost sink your teeth into. It becomes rather manure with some gently sweetened bog myrtle-peat. Actually it’s very manurey now!

The palate opens with some quite sweet, almost gristy barley followed by smoke, brine and fish. It dries towards the middle as the salt and alcohol combine, but that wonderfully, soft sweet barley hangs in there. Finally some gentle herbal peat drift in and it finishes with some liquorice accented chocolate tar. Amazingly long with a superb bitter/ sweet balance.

With a drop of water the nose becomes less creamy and more focused. The palate is gentler, less intense and rounded. Personally I prefer the intensity so I would opt to drink it neat.


Douglas Laing Old Particular Laphroaig 2001 (14 year old) 48.4%

Sherry/ Code: OLD0232/ Dist: Feb 2001 Btl: Aug 2015/ Tasted: Sept 2015

Rich juicy sherry aromas plus fragrant heathery smoke, peat and iodine. Hints of uber moist fruitcake, prunes in syrup and raisins. With time a touch of violets, coffee and salt appears. Lovely balance.

The palate is pleasantly full, opening with the lightly burnt treacle sherry and gentle peat smoke. Notes of menthol, bog myrtle and astringent herbs build on the middle but are countered by the iodine, tar and juicy dried fruit. Long, moist and succulent with smoke and earthy peat coming through. Delicious, lightly oiled after-taste.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Laphroaig 2000 (15 year old) 48.4%

Bourbon/ Code: OLD0203/ Dist: June 2000 Btl: July 2015/ Tasted: Aug 2015

Quite sweet and barley’d on the nose with menthol, iodine and herbal/ medicinal peat coming through powerfully.

The palate mirrors the nose in being quite sweet and fruity witth barley and vanilla. As the oak is quite prominent the medicinal and iodine notes are a lot subtler. Lightly earthy and salty with hints of herbal spice. Long with lingering medicinal and earthy peat.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Laphroaig 2000 (15 year old) 48.4%

Refill American oak hogshead/ Code: OLD0262/ DL10791

Dist: June 2000Btl: Dec 2015/ Tasted: May 2016

Full and quite toffee’d on the nose with sweet orange, brine and dusty, sweet peat. Very sweet and very oak dominated.

The palate is not as sweet as the nose suggests and shows more dusty peat with sweet barley, milky oak, cinder toffee and pepper. It continues in the sweet vein with lingering honey, oak, agave-like pulped white fruit and pepper.

Douglas Laing Old Particular Laphroaig 1998 (18 year old) 48.4%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: OLD0418/ DL11634

Dist: Dec 1998 Btl: Mar 2017/ Tasted: Jun 2017

A pungent but mellow nose of tarry, medicinal peat and a lovely fresh coastal character. Hints of barley, malt and cereal beneath give it depth and with time it becomes a little ashy with a touch of manure and softer peat.

Sweeter on the palate with more barley and hints of creamy vanilla. Very subtle, tarrry and earthy peat along with some gentle medicinal notes come through on the middle. Very mouth-filling with a rampant, salty and sooty finish and a touch of Talisker-esque pepper in the after-taste.


Douglas Laing Provenance Laphroaig 2004 (12 year old) 46%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: PRV1217/DL11606

Dist: Sept 2004 Btl: Feb 2017/ Tasted: Apr 2017

A pungent and medicinal nose. Quite seaweedy with fisherman’s friends, iodine and hints of barley and honey. Lightly mentholated with time along with a touch of peat smoke.

The palate opens with sweet barley, ash, peat dust and a touch of citrus. Lovely sweet/ sour balance with a lightly medicinal and seaweedy middle. Faintly astringent and ashy finish with a touch of sweet parma violets, barley and salt.

Douglas Laing Provenance Laphroaig 2005 (12 year old) 46%

Refill Hogshead/ Code: PRV1220/ DL11363

Dist: Nov 2005 Btl: Aug 2016/ Tasted: Sept 2016

The nose is fishy, briny and oily with a good depth of balancing barley and hints of smoked kippers. Lightly medicinal peat mingles with some drier peat notes and a touch of vanilla.

The palate is full and oily. Possibly a little simple with barley, vanilla, peat smoke and a touch of brine. Long and remaining sweet with subtle medicinal notes and an ashy finish.


Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Laphroaig 2001 (11 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2178/ Dist: Feb 2001 Btl: June 2012/ Tasted: June 2012

A high toned and fresh nose with medicinal and herbal notes with hints of oily bung cloth. Quite youthful with plenty of cereal along with a touch of sooty peat. The oils continue building and mute the nose a tad.

Soft and quite subtle (for a ‘phroaig) with some gentle, smoky, ashy peat and medicinal/ iodine notes. Astringently coastal on the middle with the oils attempting to balance. Good length with a brief barley sweet interlude along with a touch ofparmaviolets. Quite a saline-dry yet sugary finish with late hints of tar, liquorice and rubber.

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Laphroaig 1999 (12 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2063/ Dist: Mar 1999 Btl: July 2011/ Tasted: July 2011

The nose opens with some lusciously sweet fruit and barley followed by the phenolic, brine encrusted peat, all in a wonderfully controlled fashion. Hints of citrus rind, ozone, and a load more fishiness arrive. A classic Laphroaig with some menthol and bog myrtle too!

A very tarry, ash encrusted opening to the palate. The mouth is coated in an oily sootiness right from the word go. The sweet fruit follows on with a touch of honey and some fishy nuances. Very intense and gorgeously peated. Very long with the citrus, bog myrtle and leafy goodness in the finish. It displays a deft sweet/ dry balance as the sweet fruit more than stands up to the alcohol and peat. Superb!

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Laphroaig 1998 (14 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2220/ Dist: Oct 1998 Btl: Nov 2012/ Tasted: Nov 2012

Quite a heavily oaked nose for a ‘phroaig. Full and vanilla’d. Lightly medicinal with hints of tarry-peat, iodine and bog myrtle. With time it becomes fresher as the salinity and citrus wins its battle with the oak.

The palate has more than a touch of vanilla. Which isn’t a surprise given the nose! Followed by some chunky set honey and gently building sooty-peat and ash, which keeps its head above the milky/ creamy oak. Good length with the medicinal, iodine and tarry notes coming through and a lovely sooty aftertaste.

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Laphroaig 1998 (14 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2221/ Dist: Oct 1998 Btl: Dec 2012/ Tasted: Dec 2012

A very fresh and briny nose with a distinct astringent-peat, iodine, bog myrtle, seaweed and tar character. With time the aromas become fuller and richer with a sweet barley edge.

Very soft on the palate, opening with that sweet-ish barley and some milky oak. The phenols build with the earthy-peat, soot and iodine. Lovely sweet finish with a touch of tar and light treacle, shot through with some lovely sweet spices. Even the lingering peat has a sweetness to it!

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Laphroaig 1996 (15 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2070/ Dist: Jul 1996 Btl: Aug 2011/ Tasted: Aug 2011

The nose is quite mature but it still possesses a lovely freshness. Spicy peppery peat aromas mingle with some burnt wood and fish, later to be joined by some rubbery notes. The spirit itself is pretty robust with some barley sweetness beneath.

The palate is quite sweet, opening with the sugar coated fruit, followed by the gentle, sooty peat on the middle and finishing with just a slight coastal nuance (mainland matured?). Good length with some herbal notes in the after taste.

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Laphroaig 1992 (16 year old) 50%

Sherry Butt DL4825/ Dist: Apr 1992 Btl: Jan 2010/ Tasted: Nov 2010

For its age the nose is quite youthful. Damn phenolic as you would expect with menthol and medicinal peat notes overlaying the really heavy chocolate/ cocoa cask notes.

The palate opens with an avalanche of dry, duty, phenolic peat and malt followed by the cask sweetness and alcohol. It’s an intense mouth watering ride. Excellent length with hints of menthol and bog myrtle in the finish and a pure peat dust after taste.

With water it all goes horribly wrong. It has metamorphosed into a sweet, sickly and seriously confected mess.

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Laphroaig 1993 (18 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Dist: Mar 1993 Btl: May 2011/ Tasted: May 2011

A pungent, medicinal and mature nose of bog myrtle pet and driftwood. Quite robust (in an Ardbeg style) with some sweet fruit beneath the phenolics. With time the wood notes appear adding hints of burnt coffee and toffee. Lovely maturity with a fresh gun flint and coastal edge.

The palate opens with a beautiful softness of sugar coated vanilla as the phenolic begin to build. It’s quite sweet for a ‘phroaig with the fruit becoming quite tropical in character, there are hints of honeydew melon, guava and pineapple all shot through with a gentle, lingering peatiness, which moves into a dusty/ ash like finish.

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Laphroaig 1993 (18 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2132/ Dist: Sept 1993 Btl: Feb 2012/ Tasted: Feb 2012

A big, oaky and sweet nose with plenty of smoked meat and kipper notes. Quite gently peated with the peat wrapped in bacon fat. With time it develops some medicinal and manure characteristics.

Again the palate is quite sweet and vanilla’d. Slightly sooty with plenty of bracing, astringent coastal salty bits. The oils build on the middle and the sweet honey glazed smoked meat comes back but the alcohol and coastal notes see off the honey before it becomes too sweet. The finish is pretty dry with a light tar, soot and burnt wood aftertaste. Another excellent ‘phraoig!

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Laphroaig 1990 (21 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2064/ Dist: Mar 1990 Btl: Aug 2011/ Tasted: Aug 2011

Now this is a lovely and mature ‘phroaig! Dense, complex and inviting with hints of iodine, wicker fish baskets and gentle peat. Very earthy and wonderfully deep with some sweet barley fruit beneath. A stunning mature Islay nose!

The palate is gentle and mature with hints of fish, brine and sugar coated fruit. Gentle, soft peat rolls on by along with a touch of camphor, iodine, bog myrtle and burnt coastal wood. A lovely depth and length with a distinct warming feel. A superb, mature, gentle Islay.


Douglas Laing Premier Barrel Laphroaig 2000 (11 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Code: PBR0098/ Dist: June 2000 Btl: July 2011/ Tasted: July 2011

A pungent, peaty, tarry and phenolic nose. Hints of astringent sea air and rubber. Classic young ‘phroaig.

The palate is quite soft with a distinct clotted cream character. It’s not as intensely peatey and rubbery as the nose would suggest but it’s pleasantly full and rounded with more of a sooty-peatiness. Good length with a sweet, slightly sugary finish.

Douglas Laing Premier Barrel Laphroaig 2000 (11 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Code: PBR0106/ Dist: Jun 2000 Btl: Oct 2011/ Tasted: Oct 2011

A relatively uncomplicated nose. A sort of ‘phroaig by numbers – oily seaweed, fish and herbal peat.

The palate opens with a pleasant sweetness with a touch of caramel and some gentle oils. A rather coastal, herbaly peated middle with a touch of soot. A pleasant length with a touch of medicinal bog myrtle on the finish.

I thought I can see why they have bottled this under the Premier Barrel label because the quality isn’t high enough to be a Provenance bottling, so I imagined that this would retail somewhere in the £40 bracket, because that would be a fair price for it. Imagine my surprise when I looked at the cost and worked out a price- £63.95!!?!!? What!!!? I think it goes to show how over priced some distilleries malt actually is.

Douglas Laing Premier Barrel Laphroaig 2000 (11 year old) 46%

Bourbon/ Code: PBR0114/ Dist: June 2000 Btl: June 2012

A youthful, cereally, briny, medicinal, iodine laced peat nose. Very astringent and coastal with a suggestion of oak.

The palate opens with the slightly sweet cereal and it feels a lot richer and fuller than the nose suggests. Gentle, medicinal peat, iodine and antiseptic notes appear. Pleasantly balanced with a good, sweet, peat dust and saline finish.


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