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Laphroaig 26yo 1968 Hart Brothers 43%

It’ll be a single bottle night. But what a bottle.

A number of distilleries have non-regular distillation regimes. Laphroaig, with it’s 7 stills, also does something different, but here it is a case of alternating distillations with 3 pairs of wash-spirit stills and then 2 wash stills to one very large spirit still, and then simply blending the new makes before barreling.

1968 is an important date. The original 2 pairs were expanded to 3 pairs of stills. So consider that this whisky was distilled with 100% floor malt, in the original ‘small’ stills. It was only from 1972 when distillery manager Bessie Williamson retired, that the 7th large spirit still was added.

LaphHB1968

Nose Nose: A completely different style. Nothing like modern Laphroaig. I would go so far as to suggest this should be thought of as an entirely different ‘distillery’. First come the fruit – shades of juicy yellows and mellow red-golds- not explosive, but so so subtle, so woven-into, yet you can feel them just below the faraway smoke and cold engines. You know like the San Francisco trams first thing in the morning just as they’ve started up but before they get hot. Also peppered with loads of little old wood wax, ancient Singer oil, lumps of coal and ‘glassy-clear’ mineral shards – glassy clear as opposed to thick fat and chalky minerals.  Absolutely awe inspiring subtlety and integration. Again not a heavy or thick nose by far, in fact it is rather much on the lighter ‘clean’ phenolic and fruity side of things. Give it a swirl and it gets more maritime too.

Taste Palate: Hmm, yes it’s not big at all. In fact 3% more would have been fantastic. Nonetheless I like what’s happening here. True there’s some glassy notes upfront, but everything unfolds very quickly. Almond oil and the fruity-fruitiness is back. Congealed wax and something faintly medicinal like camphor and some dark bitter wood, also a lot of ‘something else’ that’s very seaworn like crusty sandy oars, wet ropes, salty sweaters, slightly musty wooden decks.

Finish Finish: Long, and honestly rather subtle, but loads of little baubles of fruit juice that pop microscopically, more damp basements, wet sackcloth, and seawater.

Score97

A lesson in history that doubles very well as a lesson in class.

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This entry was posted on June 13, 2016 by in Laphroaig and tagged .
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