To commemorate a special event, I recently purchased a bottle of the rare Laphroaig 30yr from a private party for a very reasonable price. After engaging one another in a bit of whisky talk, the seller decided to pour a bit of the Laphroaig from another bottle for me to taste so I wouldn't have to break the seal on the one I just purchased. That "bit" wound up being a solid 3-4 drams! Cody, you're a true gentleman!
Laphroaig 30yr (original distillery bottling 43% ABV)
To date, this was the oldest whisky I've tasted so I took a few pointers on how to enjoy this dram to its fullest. After pouring the dram, I had a tiny bit of Glenfiddich 15yr to get me ready (something cheap and sherried).
A: Deeply amber. Fairly oily.
They say older whiskies tend to require more time to open up and reach their full potential... the better whiskies will evolve multiple times. So I waited with the Glencairn glass covered.
N (after 10min): A tiny bit of sherry. Mellow iodine and peat of Islay.
N (after 20min): Sherry sweetness is more pronounced. Islay elements turning briney and overall, mellowing out.
N (after 30min): Even more sherry. Brine calmed down considerably.
T (finally): Sherry sweetness, but something is noticably different and foreign. Malty. All the usual sea elements plus a little clam/oyster brine. Finishes with sweet fruits I don't recognize.
N (with water): More malt. More sweet fruit.
T (with water): Still sweeter. Fruits getting stronger... moreso on the arrival. Smoother. Still quite peated, but not as intense. Drying finish. Sea elements almost gone (tiny bit in finish).
As more time elapsed (into the 45min territory), the peat nearly disappeared entirely. The foreign fruits became even more pronounced and started to resembled papayas or possibly guava. The oakyness finally started giving off hints of tobacco.
This wasn't the most complex whisky I've ever tasted, but it certainly had the most unfamiliar flavors. The development/evolution was absolutely spectacular.