Welcome to the latest round up of new releases. On the table today we have new whiskies from both Laphroaig and Ardbeg as well as the first cask strength release from BenRiach. Completing the set is one of my favourite drams of the year; the ICE release from Highland Park.
Laphroaig Lore [48%]
I applaud Laphroaig for this release – it is certainly very interesting – but I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like at full proof. Maybe an idea for a future release?
Nose: A dark version of the PX Travel Retail bottle from a few years ago. Lots of stewed fruits, glazed ham and the iodine notes that you would expect. Reminds me of peat sheds and dunnage warehouses topped of with some sea spray
Palate: Spicy to begin, before turning a touch floral and gaining some sweetness in the form of treacle and crème brule topping. Then the peat hits, like a peaty Christmas pudding with cocoa powder dusted over it.
Finish: The peat lingers, wrapped in a chocolate glove
Highland Park ICE [53.9%]
This is Highland Park magic. The nose is very good, but it just becomes alive in the mouth. One of the drams of the year to date. Superb whisky.
Nose: Grassy, dry peat. The aromas grip the back of your throat. Jammy and oaty with a touch of raspberry sweetness. Peppery heat.
Palate: Wow! Full of citrus, spice and butterscotch. It’s a big whisky. Notes of jasmine, smoked chilies and in the background is the most delightful subtle sweet peat. Stunning.
Finish: Massive, lemons and sherbet fountains.
BenRiach Batch One [57.2%]
This is a fine, uncomplicated whisky for those who fancy a good cask strength sherried whisky
Nose: A really interesting scent. Fruity, floral, rose petals and strawberries. This changes to mint leaves and tomato stems.
Palate: Reminds me of fruit salad sweets. Vanilla pods and dark chocolate arrive before it turns into rich fruit cake. Star anise and cardamom complete the spicing
Finish: Long, raisins. Sticky
Ardbeg Dark Cove [46.5%]
This whisky may not be as powerful as some recent Ardbegs but it is another very good release. In my opinion, this is a dram for summer afternoons with the sun shining on you – it is what Islay is about. Enjoy with barbecues.
Nose: Unmistakably Ardbeg. Full of smoke [not peat] with a lovely sherry strata running through it. Notes of cocoa, fudge and brine complete the experience.
Palate: much bigger than the nose. Ashy, peaty and full of spice. There is lots going on and lemons and sweetness compete to come to the fore. Takes me to Ardbeg day last year and reminds me of Arbroath Smokies on the steps of the distillery. Caramelised meat fat.
Finish: Spices dance on the tongue. Long, peaty and sweet