February 22, 2016

The Whisky Exchange Selection Signatory Laphroaig


The Whisky Exchange is pretty much heaven for malt heads. They have one of the largest, if not the largest, selection of rare malts of any retail store. If you type "the" into any of the browsers on my phone, laptop, or work computer, www.thewhiskyexchange.com is the first suggested link. Which is basically the Internet telling me "dude, you have a problem".

Both Mr. and Mrs. Beast's birthdays are in June, so if you want to get a head start on shopping, here are some useful links:

Port Ellen Very Old Particular

Talisker 1957

We'll be here holding our breath. Anyway you can see the caliber of stuff that TWE has lying around. They're not cheap, as a matter of fact they tend to sit at the top of the market, but they've earned it. There's just about no other place in the world where you can shop for this kind of stuff!

Exclusive Bottlings

TWE also partners with both distilleries and independent bottlers to release TWE Exclusive single barrel picks. One of their favorites is to pick Signatory Cask Strength selections. If you know SmokyBeast, you know we're nuts for Signatory Cask Strength. They tend to pick monster bottles, serve them up with no coloring or chill-filtration, and (obviously by the name) at cask strength. You can rarely go wrong with the cask selections, they're usually some of the best reflections of each distillery. And the stunning presentation of their decanter bottles only heightens the effect for the whisky collector.

TWE Signatory Bottlings (Photo from TWE Blog)

So we've got two aces - Signatory and TWE coming together to release a private barrel. What could put us over the top here? Well of course choosing a nice old Laphroaig, and aging it in a sherry cask no less. This bottle was a total no-brainer for us.

We closed our eyes as we clicked the little currency conversion button and watched the dollar sign pop up. Some things can't be helped. Add to cart. Be smart, buy two. Checkout before we get cold feet. Anxiously await arrival of box. Tear open. Share with friends. Something like that...

TWE Signatory Laphroaig 16 Year (Refill Sherry Butt)

Distilled in 1998 and bottled in 2015, this whopper of a 59.9% malt whisky spent its entire sixteen years in a sherry barrel, giving it a beautiful color.

Needless to say we were very excited to pop this puppy open. Jake joined us for a tasting to see what all the fuss was about. Somehow we guessed that we wouldn't be disappointed.

Tasting Notes (Beast)

Nose: It's got that very distinctive Laphroaig nose. Sort of like soaking cigar ash in salt water. You singe a few nose hairs on the way in. But quickly the big sweetness of the sherry kicks in and you're off to the races. Beautiful balance of peat and stone fruits, seaside barbecue and fruity jam. There's a medicinal undertone here of phenol and deeper herbals (sage, peppercorn, rock salt) cut with some bitter cherries and baking spice.

Palate: Nice oily mouthfeel, very smooth with the sweetness counterbalancing the smoke for a lovely drink. Almost an uncanny drinkability for almost 120 proof.

Finish: More like weeks than days on this one. The power of the ABV and the peat make this one to remember. Super strong smoke just lingers in your nose and throat for hours with the sweetness gradually dying off and leaving you with a perfect winter jacket.

Tasting Notes (Jake)

First of all Signatory Laphroaig hand picked by The Whisky Exchange? Are you kidding!? Any one of those names alone is a reputable source and deliverer of delicious drams. But all three collaborated on this one? My mouth started watering even the first time @smokybeast told me about this bottle. The Beast just wouldn't shut up about this bottle and from the moment he pulled the top of the other night (the bottles top, not his) I could tell exactly why. In general, Laphroaig is usually my least favorite if Islay malts. Never find myself thinking "I'm really in the mood for some Laphroaig right now", but this pour is absolutely one of the tastiest Islay malts I've come across.

Nose: Smoky as hell, fruity all the way through. It's like a bacon wrapped fig that was charred over a campfire, drizzled with olive oil and topped with fresh cracked black pepper.

Palate: De Lish! Oily as a jersey shore tanning bed and as dry as British "humour"..

Finish: And it just doesn't fade! I had this almost a week ago and I swear I can still taste a little smoke when I burp. Which I don't often because I'm a gentleman. This was a fantastic malt that will make it hard to enjoy my peaty section at home because this just towers over them all.


This bottle is a slam dunk. While not cheap (one hundred pounds before you get into shipping / customs which can get expensive), it's super hard to find a 100% sherry cask Laphroaig these days. While some of the current Laphroaig releases contain sherry maturation (finishing and/or blending), they're really not in this league. This is definitely not a malt for beginners - you need to be way into the peat and cask strength spectrum of whisky drinking. That being said, for us this was a seriously amazing dram. Cheers to TWE for another great pick and keep up the noble work. /SB

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