Saturday, June 7, 2014

Laphroaig Select – the NAS is out there..

No Age Statement. NAS. This the what we, the enjoyers of the dram, will see much more in the future. The times of old age stated whiskies are diminishing. There are some of those who will fight but it may be the long and final battle, unless days of the future past changes the timeline.

So said, I don’t think all NAS whiskies are bad. Most are actually quite ok and some are good – or even great and exceptional. There will be always “cheaper single malts” and of course those that are much more expensive. There may be lots of reasons why the whisky does not have the age statement, but ultimately I think it gets down to the fact that there are some 3 years old dram in it. Thus, for marketing reasons they don’t want to ruin the image by printing 3YO onto the label.

Why this? Because the world is not the same as it was 20..30 years ago. It is not even the same as it was a decade ago! The speed, the fast pace and the networked unity of drammers wants more selection, new makes, new bottles, special releases and so forth. We cause this, so we might as well welcome it. Perhaps a bit harshly said, but the supplier is responding to the market’s needs. And when those older age statement drams come out to sale, they are not inexpensive. To put mildly. But as a devoted hobbyist, I enjoy the selection and the variance. Perhaps in my time, I will see the tide change and get my lips around some extraordinary whisky with age statements.. at a reasonable price.

20140608-20140608153020-IMG_4312_small However, Laphroaig Select is representing the new era. It is a NAS with less price tag. So, the first setting and expectation is altered by that fact. What is Select then? It is the new Laphroaig NAS (40%) that has emerged in selected sections of the world. It is matured in five different woods: Oloroso Sherry butts, new American white oak, PX hogsheads, quarter casks and finally in first filled bourbon casks. That’s a lots of different wood around the dram.

The nose is softer than what I would expect on any Laphroaig. Spices, herbs and some smoke. Not a big hit, but promises something good. It is surprising, how unlike Laphroaig the nose is.

The body is strongly filled with oak. There are sherry-spices present too, pepper and then perhaps some lime. Some smokiness is there too. For someone, who has tasted a lots of smoke whiskies – this is like a starter for the tasting. It is not too strong, and thus it is a easy start.

I don’t think this is a big hit. If you compare this to the famous Quarter Cask, then this one is left far behind. If compared with QA, then there is less gap but later I’ve grown fond of QA as a tastings starter. For this Select, there is not just enough dong to justify the ching. It is nice, pleasant even, but it is still a weak representation. In case the intention is to lure in more drinkers to Laphroaig, especially from the blended world, it does it job. It is not bad – far from it – but it does not make an impression either. If the need arises, this would be a easy dram to drink but I think I’ll save this one to tastings for comparison. 

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