Laphroaig is not French for “the frog” but Scottish for “the beautiful hollow by the broad bay.” And the word Lore means the passing of a skill or tradition through word of mouth, which is something these distillers have been doing since 1815. They even go on to describe their sea side location, cold smoke peating, and pristine water and the use of American and European oak casks as well as former bourbon and sherry casks. However they don’t reveal the age of the scotch that makes up this particular bottle, as they have gone the route of many distillers with no age statement (NAS).
They do drop one small clue on their website as to age by saying; “Lore is a marriage…of many styles and many ages…some as old as vintage 1993”. Okay, so there is a bit of 23 year old scotch in this blend plus, no doubt, some others that are much younger. The only reason I bring up age is that it usually justifies a higher price point – in this case, $125.00 per bottle. However, here you have to take them at their words on the bottle: “The richest of the rich” and “The most richly flavored of all Scotch whiskies”. They have also won numerous gold medals in tastings across the country, so I guess the only way to finally decide if its worth it is to try it, so let’s get to it.
The color of this is scotch is a light amber and that is probably the only thing light about this spirit. The nose is the most heavily peated and smoked nose I have ever smelled in all my years of tasting scotch. Backing that smoke and peat is oak and ash and malt and a touch of vanilla and even chocolate, but the focus is definitely on the peat and smoke. On the palate, I imagine that this taste of peat and smoke is probably akin to actually biting into a burning and smoldering bit of peat moss. WOW, that’s some seriously flavored spirit! The palate continues with a spicy zestiness and even a touch of saltiness. The finish is spicy and yet sweet but still very smoky and lasts a medium amount of time.
These people weren’t kidding around when they said this scotch is “the most richly flavored of all…” Even with a few drops of water the smoke and peat come through with flying colors. If you are dead dog serious about your scotch, then this bad boy scotch is the one for you. If you’re a newbie to scotch, then you might want to start off with some of the other more mellow blends that are out there and work your way up to this Laphroaig Lore; otherwise, it just might overwhelm you with intense flavor. As for me, this baby is going into my permanent collection, and I can‘t wait to try it out on some of my friends and get their reactions.
Laphroaig Lore retails for $125.00 per 750ml bottle, but I have seen it on sale for as low as $80.00 and it is 96 proof or 48%ABV.
By George Brozowski