Head to Head : The Last Laph, Laphroaigs 15 & 18

1)   15

2) 18

Color

1) Golden yellow

2) Seems slightly darker, but it could be my imagination.

Nose

1) Mildly peaty, a bit of dry smoke, like smoldering embers.

2) Sweetness, spice, peaty freshness

On the palate

1) Full bodied, a little sweetness, peat, smoke, ash

2) Equally full-bodied, luscious sweetness balanced with a tang of peat and a whiff of smoke

Finish

1) Lingering smoke and peat tempered by a delicate sweetness.  Like smoky Mexican hot chocolate.

2) Sweet caramel chocolate toffee, lingering burn, with a touch of smoke that goes right down my throat and then back up and out of my nose.

Parting Words

Both of these malts are really wonderful. The conventional wisdom in the Scotch world, as in the bourbon world, is that old, discontinued expressions (Laphroaig 15 in this case) are superior to the current offerings. But I liked the 18 better. The shocking thing about it is that, here anyway, the 18 y/o is under $80, something that is unheard of for a single malt of this age and quality. So if you see Laphroaig 15, by all means buy it.  Then buy the 18, and by all means drink it!

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