5 Whiskeys like Laphroaig

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Whiskies That Throw a Punch: Islay Malts That Rival Laphroaig.

Ah, Laphroaig! That venerable Islay single malt that has fuelled countless debates and divided friendships.

It's a whisky that leaves no room for ambiguity – either you love its medicinal, peaty, and smoky character, or you loathe it like the aftertaste of a rancid haggis.

But for those who worship at the altar of Laphroaig, there are other Islay malts that share its iconic flavour profile.

So, let us embark on a pilgrimage of peaty whiskies that are like Laphroaig, but not Laphroaig.

5 Whiskeys like Laphroaig

Ardbeg 10

A whisky that has more peat than a bog-dwelling creature from the Scottish Highlands, Ardbeg 10 is the enfant terrible of Islay malts. With its oily, briny, and tarry profile, it's a bit like a shipwreck that's been set ablaze and then doused with seawater. And yet, there's a surprising sweetness beneath the smoke, like a mischievous wink from a coal miner. If Laphroaig is the roaring lion of Islay whiskies, Ardbeg is the snarling wolf.

When it comes to the distillery's history, Ardbeg has had a tumultuous past. Founded in 1815, it has experienced multiple closures and re-openings due to economic hardships. This rollercoaster of events adds a certain mystique to Ardbeg's profile. The distillery's resurrection in 1997, followed by the release of the 10 Year Old in 2008, has solidified its position as a must-try for Laphroaig enthusiasts.

Lagavulin 16 year old

Lagavulin 16 is the whisky you offer to those who turn up their noses at Laphroaig's pungent charms. It's like a more sophisticated, worldly cousin, who knows how to charm with subtlety and finesse.

It packs a peaty punch, but the smoke is tempered by rich, sweet sherry notes and a velvety smoothness. Drinking Lagavulin is like being enveloped in the warm embrace of a kilted Highlander as the mists roll in from the sea.

Nestled in a small bay near the ruins of Dunyvaig Castle, Lagavulin has been distilling whisky since 1816.

Its picturesque location lends a romantic air to this already alluring dram. The combination of long fermentation, slow distillation, and extended maturation in oak casks contributes to the unique character of Lagavulin 16 Year Old.

This Islay malt manages to find the perfect balance between peat and sweetness, making it an excellent alternative to Laphroaig.

Caol Ila 12 Year Old

For those who find Laphroaig a bit too aggressive but still crave a smoky dram, Caol Ila 12 is the answer.

It's like Laphroaig after a week at a spa retreat – the same medicinal, peaty character, but with a more gentle, refined touch.

Citrus and floral notes dance around the smoke, making Caol Ila the Islay whisky for people who thought they hated Islay whisky.

Situated on the northeastern coast of Islay, Caol Ila boasts stunning views of the Paps of Jura across the Sound of Islay. Founded in 1846, the distillery has undergone significant changes over the years, including a complete rebuild in the 1970s.

Despite its modern appearance, Caol Ila remains true to its roots, producing a beautifully balanced and approachable Islay whisky.

Caol Ila 12 Year Old's delicate character comes from the combination of lighter peating levels and taller stills, which allows for a more refined spirit.

The result is a whisky that offers a more subtle smokiness, ideal for those seeking an introduction to peaty malts without feeling overwhelmed by the peat's intensity.

Bruichladdich Port Charlotte

Bruichladdich's Port Charlotte line is a tribute to the old, peat-heavy style of Islay malts, and it shows. With a peat level that could make a grown man weep, it's like Laphroaig on steroids – if steroids also made you more complex and interesting.

There's a maritime quality to the whisky, with salt and seaweed mingling with the smoke, but also a fruity sweetness that keeps things from getting too bogged down (pun intended).

Bruichladdich, a distillery with a penchant for experimentation and innovation, introduced the Port Charlotte series as a nod to Islay's peaty past. Named after the nearby village and its long-lost distillery, Port Charlotte whiskies capture the essence of Islay's rugged coastlines and wild landscapes.

The heavily peated Port Charlotte line showcases Bruichladdich's ability to craft a whisky that is both intensely smoky and remarkably complex. With notes of chocolate, vanilla, and dried fruit layered beneath the peat, Port Charlotte offers a robust alternative to Laphroaig that still maintains its unique character.

Kilchoman Machir Bay

A relative newcomer to the Islay scene, Kilchoman's Machir Bay is named after a windswept beach on the island, and it shows in the whisky's bracing, invigorating character. With a peat level that rivals Laphroaig, it's got smoke in spades, but there's a bright, fruity quality to the malt that sets it apart. It's like a bonfire on a blustery beach, with salt spray mingling with the smoke and the tang of sea air.

Established in 2005, Kilchoman is Islay's youngest distillery, but it has already made a name for itself in the whisky world. As a farm distillery, Kilchoman is one of the few remaining producers to grow its barley, do its own malting, and distill on-site, resulting in a truly handcrafted spirit.

Machir Bay, Kilchoman's flagship whisky, is a vatting of ex-bourbon and sherry casks, which imparts a delightful balance of fruitiness, sweetness, and smoke. The combination of traditional methods and youthful energy makes Machir Bay an exciting alternative for those seeking a Laphroaig-like experience with a fresh twist.

So, while Laphroaig will always hold a special place in the hearts of peat lovers, there is a world of Islay whiskies waiting to be explored.

Whether you're a die-hard Laphroaig aficionado or just dipping your toes into the peaty waters, these five alternatives offer a tantalizing taste of the rich and smoky world of Islay malts.

Grab a glass, sit back, and let the spirit of Islay transport you to the windswept shores and misty moors of Scotland's most famous whisky-producing island.

How much does each Laphroaig Whisky cost?

The price of Laphroaig whisky can vary depending on the type of whisky, the size of the bottle, and where you purchase it. Here is a rough guide to the prices of some popular Laphroaig whiskies:

  • Laphroaig 10 Year Old: Prices for a 750ml bottle of Laphroaig 10 Year Old can range from $50-$70.

  • Laphroaig Quarter Cask: Prices for a 750ml bottle of Laphroaig Quarter Cask can range from $60-$80.

  • Laphroaig Lore: Prices for a 750ml bottle of Laphroaig Lore can range from $100-$150.

  • Laphroaig 18 Year Old: Prices for a 750ml bottle of Laphroaig 18 Year Old can range from $200-$300.

Keep in mind that these prices are rough estimates and may vary based on your location and other factors. It's always a good idea to shop around and compare prices before making a purchase.

In addition to these prices, it's important to note that Laphroaig also offers a range of other whiskies, including limited edition releases and cask strength expressions. These whiskies may be priced higher than the ones listed above.