SMWS 29.271 “Tall, dark, and mysterious” Laphroaig 21 Year (1998)

Scotch Whisky Review #253: SMWS 29.271 “Tall, dark, and mysterious” Laphroaig 21 Year (1998)

Distillery: Laphroaig

Bottler: SMWS

Region: Islay

Age: 21 Year. Distilled in 1998.

ABV: 55.50%

Price: Sample courtesy of /u/b1uepenguin

Cask Type: Ex-Bourbon cask maturation, 2nd fill Port barrique finish

Color: 1.2, Chestnut/Oloroso Sherry.

This particular review was done blind.

Nose: (according to the wife) Smoked ham and fatty bacon are the main notes. There is a ton of peat as well.

Palate: Without water, it gives a rather tingly sensation on the tongue to the point where it is almost bubbly. It definitely needs cooling down. A few drops of of water later, it starts to open up quite nicely. There’s a very smokey and sugary note which is what I would image what smoked sugar would taste like. More savory notes come in play afterwards. That fatty bacon from the nose makes an appearance along with some other assorted grilled meats. A grilled and slightly charred pineapple rounds things up.

Finish: Fairly long. The grilled pineapple lingers along with a bit of the sugary smoke.

Guess: A young Islay with at least partial sherry cask maturation, probably bottled at/near cask strength. Going with Bruichladdich for the distillery.

Reveal: SMWS 29.271 “Tall, dark, and mysterious” Laphroaig 21 Year (1998)

Conclusion: I don’t always get a really strong mental image from whiskies, but this one is one where I did. It is a summer barbecue in a glass. The nose starts you off with some nice fatty smoked meats. You get this lovely sugary smoke accompanied by more of those grilled savory notes. The little bit of charred pineapple is fantastic and really seals the experience. It’s a ton of fun all around. Would I buy a bottle? It’d be on the “if money were no object” list.

Final Score: 86.

Scotch Whisky Review #253, Islay Review #33, Whisky Network Review #389

Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

2 thoughts on “SMWS 29.271 “Tall, dark, and mysterious” Laphroaig 21 Year (1998)

  1. Those black label Laphroaigs from The SMWS are usually quite icredible. For obvious reasons, they don’t find the way into my glass all too often. But when I am lucky to sip one such dram, it’s always a special experience!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s