Whisky Advocate

Guest Review: Laphroaig Triple Wood, 48%, $100

August 10th, 2010

This is the first time I’ve been up for reviews here so I had a game plan: play it cool, mark tightly, let everyone know I’m hard to please. Then they gave me this, the whisky equivalent to front row tickets to Neil Young on his current Twisted Road tour: not just a chance to get up close and personal with an old favorite, but to do so with an old favorite who’s on fire. Laphroaig’s owners are intent on ensuring a big peaty engine for any new release, but this is a monster by anyone’s standards. It’s essentially Quarter Cask finished in oloroso sherry casks, so in addition to the intense charcoal smoke attack there are rich fruity notes; blackcurrant and berries. It’s an evening barbecue whisky. Grill that fish until it’s blackened and crispy, drizzle on lemon, and as the smoke rears up in protest, sip this. Big, moody, broody, fruity, and rich: what’s not to love? (Travel Retail and some European specialist retailers.) – Dominic Roskrow

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 94

62 Responses to “Guest Review: Laphroaig Triple Wood, 48%, $100”

  1. Luke says:

    I agree Dominic, great stuff (especially at STG£56.00 for a Duty-Free 1 Litre bottle in Edinburgh!)

    I find sherried Laphroaig stunning when done properly, Ardbeg take note!

  2. BourbonBreath says:

    Welcome Dominic…Just as I love the disparity of whiskeys, I also love the disparity of tasting notes. Way to put thoughts to paper, so to speak. Great review!

  3. I can almost taste it – almost. Now I just need to get a bottle! Cheers Dominic!

  4. brian bradley (brian47126) says:

    That is quite a score. When (if ever) will this be available for those of us not traveling out of the country?

  5. David says:

    Wow, high review, I love the Quarter Cask, and I really like the Signatory I have aged in refill butt, perhaps I should blend the two. I’ve heard some say this is better and some say not as good as the Quarter Cask, has anyone done a side by side and care to share?

  6. mongo says:

    i’ve done a side by side (and in fact the bottles are side by side on my shelf). i like the triple wood a lot, but i have the quartercask at 91 and the triple wood at 88. it’s good, but i don’t think it’s knock your socks off good.

    • David says:

      Thanks for the insight, I saw the triple wood on my way back from Scotland in a Duty Free, was tempting but I had a suit case full of bottles already, Maybe next time.

    • Steffen Bräuner says:

      I agree with you there mongo, your ratings is about what I would give. Not sure which one I find the best, QC or TW, both good drams

      MAcdeffe

  7. I saw Neil Young’s Twisted Road at the Fox in Atlanta and I have to tell you that it was a self absorbed, ego filled evening that left me wondering where did Neil go? He played some good tunes but for the most part it was a waste of my time and money. He filled the Fox to capacity and to my math took in over $500K and did not earn half of it. He didn’t even say hello. He was a zombie who has taken to many drugs in his life. I have always been a fan but after seeing him I am at a loss. Bring on the Triple Wood!

    • John Hansell says:

      Big Neil fan here. I probably have seen him 20 times over the past 30+ years. In fact, I’ve taken my wife Amy to so many Neil concerts, that she refuses to go to any more. But, his most recent tour did not have any stops near me. He usually hits Philly, which is close to where I live, but not this time. Sorry to hear you didn’t like the show.

      Neil doesn’t like a lot of audience noise when he’s doing a solo gig. Maybe that ticked him off? The last time I saw him solo, he was describing Hank Williams’ guitar which he was going to play. He was showing the bullet hole in it when someone in the back yelled “just play it Neil.” Neil stopped talking, looked out to the audience as shouted to the guy: “Shut up, asshole!” For the rest of the show, the audience was well-behaved. :)

  8. Paul Newcombe says:

    Bought a bottle of Triplewood from Glasgow airport on my way to the Isle of Lewis earlier this year, and although the bottle was soon emptied, I much preferred the depth and finish of the quarter cask over this. Slightly disapointed in it really to be honest.

  9. B.J. Reed says:

    Welcome Dominic! Me and my Dell buddies just had the 10 YO Cask Strength last night to remind us how good the young Laphroaig is and then I see this review – Really want to taste this one!

  10. James says:

    this sounds suspiciously close to lagavulin.
    if that’s the case, is it worth the price premium of a readily available classic?

    • James, you should definetly try this one. It is not so close to Lagavulin as you might think. This is a bit lighter, more citrus and light fruits. Also less ‘old fashioned’ smells and flavours than a Lagavulin. The leather and wax notes are gone…

      • James says:

        hey, i like leather!–haha. sjoerd, your description/contrast between the whiskies is great –very vivid! i think i have a better sense of the differences between the two. now the only problem is, how can i get my hands on this laphroaig here in san francisco?

      • mongo says:

        i agree–it’s not lagavulin at all. i like it a lot, and if you like laphroaig and have the opportunity to get a bottle, you should buy one.

        • mongo says:

          also, it’s not really a price premium over the laga 16 in most american markets. the triple wood in duty free is 55 pounds for a liter; about 42 pounds for 750 ml or about $72. that’s actually cheaper than the lagavulin 16 at a number of places.

          • mark davis says:

            I pay about $55 plus tax for lagavulin in NYC. the place I go to has cask strength and distillers edition right now for $60.

          • mongo says:

            yes, certainly. and if you shop at astor you can pay even less in nyc for the 16yo ($48) and the 12yo cs ($50). but that’s not the fairest comparison. all over the country the median price for laga 16 is closer to $70, which is about the same price for the laphroaig triple wood if you account for the extra 250 ml in the liter bottle. and so for most people this is not priced at a premium.

  11. Texas says:

    ..well I get tortured by reading about whiskies I could never obtain on whiskyfun..and now here. Oh well..sure does sound great and thanks for the review, Dominic. Maybe John Campbell will find it in his heart to get it over here someday.

    • Michael says:

      Can you and others explain to me what the problem with the US whisky market is?

      I know that we in Ontario, Canada are facing completely monopolistic and controlled liquor market but I thought that it is much easier in the US. I do buy my whisky in California but Ardbeg Corryvreckan or Kilchoman are still not available at K&L or Beltramo’s (it is not that it can be shipped to Ontario, anyway). I do buy whisky at The Whisky Exchange (have to ship it to California or to mainland Europe, where I travel often) or a store in Alberta (use private shipper) but it is completely ridiculous.

      Why is it not a completely free market in the the US and depends on state laws?

      • Texas says:

        Others would be more knowledgeable than me, but for one the bottle for the U.S. market must be 750ml instead of 700ml, and the different states all have different liquor laws and labeling requirements. So…it can be a pain for a distiller to send bottles to the U.S. In my mind though, in many cases it would be worth it for them.

        The prices in Canada from what I have seen are just obscene. Sweden has nationalized liquor stores (Systembolaget) and their priced for single malts are very reasonable.

        • Michael says:

          Yes, the prices are high but I bought Kilchoman, Ardbeg Corryvrackan and Highland Park Earl Magnus in Canada. Our selection of independent bottlers is not so bad. Toronto Duty Free prices could be very good.

        • mark davis says:

          There are wierd wholesalers in new york that get European stocks when the exchange rate is right. two less drams, but generally HUGE savings.

      • Andre Girard says:

        So imagine here in Quebec province where we have the same monopolistic problem but in addition the fact all the labels needs to be translate in french…

        So we’ve found a couple friend in Alberta who are buyimng stuff in Calgary and ship the bottles in Quebec province for us…

        • Mike says:

          If you want good prices go to NJ. There are a couple of places just over the river from NY that have excellent prices. Worth the drive and the GWB toll.

          • Barry Jay says:

            There’s a place in Howell NJ called Wines on 9. Big fans of MAlt Advocate and have 400+ scotches on hand. Great place to go…

  12. Quentin says:

    Does anyone know how long it is spending in each of these woods?

  13. Henry H. says:

    The Triple Wood sounds lovely – if only we could find it this side of the pond. As for comparisons with the Quarter Cask, I had my first QC dram a while back not long after I’d tried the 10yo Cask Strength (red stripe bottling). In my opinion. the CS was far superior to the QC. Wondering if anyone who enjoys them both can tell me what I’m missing with the QC. And thanks.

  14. Barry Jay says:

    Geesh, this bottle sounds great..I’m sure my wife will be less than thrilled if I buy it. Everytime I pour an Islay. she tells me how much they stink. She’s such a heathen.

    • Michael says:

      What is is about women and Laphroaig whisky? ;-) My wife walks out of the room when I pour my Laphroaig dram.

      • mongo says:

        i know a number of women who like stinky islays. and plenty of men who curl their noses up at them.

    • paul newcombe says:

      Ha ha ha…..I totally have to agree with you on that Barry. My good lady does exactly the same thing, blimey, I dont moan when the vapours from her tia maria or bailey’s start wafting towards me …yeuch !

      • Barry Jay says:

        My wife and I were out to dinner with a comedian friend who’s girlfriend at the time ordered a Lagavulin 16…exclaiming “that is my favorite scotch”. This was well before I great to appreciate the Islays. I thought to myself….does she slip away to the medicine cabinet and sip the Ambersol? Well, later that evening, she lit up a cigar. Well, he no longer her dates her…but…what a catch..hubba, hubba.. lol

    • Henry H. says:

      Both the women I drink single malts with adore the peaty ones. In fact, one of them complained about the Beast because its peat paled in comparison to that of the Oogie. Surely we can dispense with these sweeping generalizations…

  15. Texas says:

    ..on a slightly different note has anyone tried the new Laph 10 CS single barrel yet? I see it’s here in Houston now.

    • Henry H. says:

      Texas, just yesterday I looked around for tasting notes on the new Laphroaig CS and found Serge’s Whiskyfun take on Batch 001: http://www.whiskyfun.com/archiveoctober09-2.html#161009 The notes are a short scroll below the music review that comes up. Thankfully, Serge sometimes tastes whisky that’s affordable even for us hoi polloi.
      And John, if it isn’t cool to post such links here, please say the word. Looking forward to your review as always.

      • Texas says:

        Thanks..somehow I missed that. Serge always seems to get around to doing some everyday malts as well..

        Looking forward to John’s review.

    • WolfgangU says:

      Is this really a single barrel? That would be very nice. But I thought it’s just a single batch.

      • Michael says:

        No, it is not single barrel at all. Laphroaig decided to release batches of CS just to give them flexibility as far as ABV is concerned and have more variety, I guess. I have stocked up on the red stripe CS – it is simply better.

  16. John Hansell says:

    I’m also getting a review sample of this whisky, so I’ll be happy to let you know my thoughts on this whisky too.

  17. Tony Bagnall says:

    The laphroaig batch 2, 2010 CS is fairly different to the batch 1, imo its a bit lighter with slight floral notes, not something you usually associate with laphroaig … I really liked it initially but now I’m at the end of the bottle I’ve come to the conclusion that the first dram of it is lovely but i dont always go back for a second. I’m putting together a vertical tasting of 6 laphroaigs, 9 yr old signatory, 10 yr, 10 yr CS, quartercask, triplewood and 18 yr old, cant wait to taste them all together!

  18. Andre Girard says:

    I definitely need to get a hand on this one and the 18yo (still unavailable here). For that time, i have an old 15yo, a quarter cask and a 10yo cask strength bottle in the shelf.

  19. Texas says:

    I have seen the 18 many times on the shelf but have yet wanted to shell out the $73. That is certainly not expensive for an 18 year, but the 10, 10CS, and QC are so good for $55 or less..

  20. Michael says:

    I have not seen Laphroaig 18YO cheaper than $115 in the US. Where did you find it for $73? It is ~ £60 in Britain.

  21. Tony Bagnall says:

    The 18 is well worth it, imo much better than the old 15. I would definitely buy it for $73.

  22. mongo says:

    i don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but the laphroaig 18 is available at chicago-lake liquors in minneapolis for all of $44….

    • Michael says:

      That is cheaper than QC at the stores, I shop. Can anyone (again) explain to me the price structure in the US? :-)

      • mongo says:

        this is a store that buys what they stock in tremendous volume (their selection is not small and not at all exotic, but it’s not very large either) and does not charge above a 10% markup (or so they say)*. they’re cheaper than everyone else in town by a fair margin. that said, the median price for the laph 18 in minnesota is $65. in california it’s closer to $125. i cannot explain that. nor can i explain astor wine’s lagavulin prices (either in the abstract or compared to other retailers in nyc).

        *i also like to think they give people a discount for being brave enough to shop there….

  23. WolfgangU says:

    Can anyone explain to me, please, why Laphroaig keeps adding caramel to all their standard bottlings, from all I know? I commend them for not chill-filtering them, but why stop half way, it doesn’t make sense to me.

  24. John Hansell says:

    Dominic is vacationing in Italy with no access to the internet (so far), and he texted me a few comments to put up here. Here they are:

    “Thank you for the kind welcomes. I hear what’s being said about Quarter Cask. It’s a favorite of mine and always open. Maybe familiarity has bred contempt? Plus I am a sucker for well made sherried fruits and smoke. Looking forward to comparing again after my vacation.”

    “As for Neil Young, over in Europe, reviews have been excellent. I think it is incredible that after all these years he can still surprise, excite and divide opinion. Just like Laphroaig, in fact…” –Dominic.

  25. John Hansell says:

    My review sample of Triple Wood showed up at the office today. I’ll be sure to take some with me on my vacation.

  26. Barry Jay says:

    If you take it on vacation, don’t lock it under deck…..I’m wicked at picking locks…

  27. […] Roskrow reviewed this whisky already on WDJK here. Some of you have been asking for comparative reviews, so here’s my take on it. (He liked it […]

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