However the general consensus is that the current 10 is a shell of it's former self. So in general terms what made the Laph 10 of 1990's and earlier better. Was it smokier, peatier..etc? I'd love to be able to have just one glass sometime of a Laph from that 50's or 60's. I am 45 years old, but only started drinking SMS a couple of years ago.
Like you, I'd like another shot at the "old" stuff.
Another factor Jefford mentions is the change from coal-fired stills to steam-fired, and I think this will have been a factor across the industry. When the estimable Mr Ian Logan showed us around Strathisla, he introduced us to a retired stillman named Tommy, who does some of the tours. In the old days, distillery workers were given a daily ration of new-make spirit to get them through the day--their daily dram. Tommy told us that, at one time, one of Strathisla's stills was coal fired, and one, steam-fired. The daily dram was given from the coal-fired still, as the workers preferred that. One day--once--he gave them their daily dram from the steam still. He said he hasn't heard the end of it yet!
talisker10 wrote:So in general terms what made the Laph 10 of 1990's and earlier better?
I'm not quite so sure about the Laphroaig of the 1990s in terms of consistent quality.
Others here have made some very telling comments as to the reasons behind a change in the character of the spirit. And I know that I certainly noticed, during the aforementioned 1990s, some bottles of the Laphroaig 10 Year Old displaying a richer golden colour, even with a touch of orange in the makeup. The mid-palate effect had also softened ever so slightly, possibly due to a subtle veil of caramel. Yet at other times, some bottles seemed marginally more 'raw' than the norm. Of course, such inconsistencies are not unheard of throughout the single malt industry.
Lately, I've judged the 10YO to be back to its clean, uncluttered, beachside best, with the 'medicine' going down in buttery-smooth fashion. Yes, it may indeed have lost a touch of its intensity.
By the way, Jefford's fine book is now widely available in paperback.
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