Laphroaig Lore

I must admit, I’ve always had a soft spot for Laphroaig’s whisky. The Quarter Cask was phenomenally good value, and the 10 Year Old used to be terrific (before they lowered the ABV). The 18 Year Old is still superb, if a little expensive these days. There’s no doubting the quality of the spirit either, as I’ve had some simply delicious single cask releases over the years.

Laphroaig – la-froyg – is an Islay icon, and certainly one of the most well-known distilleries around the world. Established in 1815, it recently celebrated its 200th anniversary. For many years it remained in the same family until the last member died childless in 1954. He left the distillery to Bessie Williamson, his one-time secretary (Whisk(e)y Treasury, Schobert.). She sold up over a decade later, though remained director until 1972. Today it is owned by the corporate drinks giant Beam Suntory.

Laphroaig Lore is the distillery’s new ‘No Age Statement’ release for 2016. It is made up of whiskies aged in a combination of quarter casks, sherry casks and ‘reused’ peated casks. Again without an age statement we must instead get some story or a marketing hook, and in this case it is that the Lore is very rich – ‘the richest of the rich’ Laphroaigs, in fact. On Twitter it was revealed that this single malt is a vatting of various ages between 7 and 21 years old.


So that makes the Laphroaig Lore a 7-year-old whisky. There’s been quite a bit of talk about this online, largely stoked through Laphroaig’s very clever and talented brand agency. Laphroaig Lore is bottled at 48% ABV and costs about £80, which you may think is quite steep for a 7-year-old whisky. (Compare that to the new Lagavulin 8 Year Old, which is stunning, brave and superb value at £50 – Diageo’s best move in ages.)

Anyway, the real question is this: is Laphroaig Lore any good?

Laphroaig Lore Tasting Notes

Captain Jack

Colour: deep gold.

On the nose: timid. There’s that classic Laphroaig peat in there, but it’s seriously muted. A little honey. Orange blossom. Touch of butterscotch. A little leather. Not at all unpleasant, but heavily lacking any complexity.

In the mouth: ashy, but not overly so. Creamy, but not too much. A little toffee. Briney. Lemonade. Butterscotch. Vanilla. Milk chocolate. A lingering, dry peppery finish. The peat vanishes to something more earthy. And there end the tasting notes – it’s as simple a whisky as that for me. There’s not much going on at all, and I suspect any power is being given by allowing this to be a higher ABV. That said, it’s one of the most boring whiskies I’ve had in a long time.


I actually tried Laphroaig Lore twice. Once at the Midlands Whisky Festival, and again in the calm of my own home. Both times I was disappointed. At the show, many other people were too – especially when price was mentioned. Let me repeat: Laphroaig, or Beam Suntory, are asking £80 for the Lore. £80!

Captain Jack again

If Laphroaig Lore was £35 and slotted alongside the Quarter Cask (which is far better) or the Select on a supermarket shelf, it’d be fine. But this is too blunt and boring a whisky, and not even much older. Sure, some people will yell that this contains some old whisky in with the young, which highlights one issue with ‘transparency’ – that declaring it contains old whisky will be used in an effort to justify the price what is incredibly average younger whisky. (Be careful what you wish for, whisky fans.)

Regardless of the age statement – and not that I’m particularly bothered by such matters – Laphroaig Lore is a below average whisky. It is a dull McLaphroaig, the Nickelback of Islay whiskies, and that they’re charging £80 for it is bordering on ridiculous. Buy the new Lagavulin 8 Years Old instead.

(And yes, Jack Sparrow has returned.)

CategoriesSingle Malt
  1. Rob Gallagher says:

    Fully agree with your review. My go to is 10yr cask Strength Laphroaig. This Lore is a marketing ploy. Sadly I had to lay $26 for a pour to find out how depressing it is for the money. It’s very good $30 blended whiskey.

  2. Robert Munson says:

    You had me at the nickelback reference! I have yet to try this it’s $100 in D.C. I have been curious because so many people hype this. Back to your point, brilliant marketing because one of the first things mentioned is the allure of 21 yo cask and then buttery. I opted for a lagavulin 12. Great review!

  3. Chris says:

    This just goes to show how subjective taste is. The Lore is my go to example of NAS whisky done right. Apparently Jim Murray agrees with me because he just named it the #1 NAS scotch of the year. I agree that it’s overpriced, but it’s not nearly as overpriced as some of the garbage that Macallan (the true Nickelback of scotch) releases.

    1. Mark says:

      Could be a different vatting, it could have improved, it could be a different whisky, but I’d be hard-pressed to find anyone to convince me that it was more than a mediocre thing, a shadow of what the distillery was capable of in the past.

  4. Mahmoud Ali says:

    The Lore costs C$200 here in Canada so it is not likely to be one that I will try anytime soon. All Laphroaig products here seems to be part of the brands attempt to spiral the price into the stratosphere.

  5. Juju says:

    Good thing I wasn’t “Lore’d” by this. The Quarter Cask is decent enough but the new 10’s really suffered in quality. Have not tried the 10 CS though, which seems to offer a better proposition.

  6. Fred says:

    I do love the quality and style of reviews on this site but man i’m always at odds with the ratings. Laphroaig Lore, Springbank 15, Glendronach 18 and other highly praised top drams get terrible to average scores..don’t quite get it. It’s a pity as if the reviewers were more in line with the majorities taste preferences it would hands down be my go to sight. As is it’s more for quality entertainment than guidance..

    1. Mark says:

      Hi Fred, you’ll note that Lore doesn’t get a score (but if it did, it would be below 2) and if you’ve gone back through the archives enough you’ll note that there are different interpretations of the same whiskies from different people. Bottlings change, too, with different compositions.

      There are many whiskies who claim to win loads of awards, but as we all know the awards system for spirits is a complete joke – pay money for entering, get a medal. But as for the “majorities”? Do you mean your own circle of friends? New drinkers, old drinkers? Online communities? All tiny bubbles, I assure you; even Malt is our own bubble.

      I won’t speak for everyone, but a good number of us have had exposure to countless hundreds of whiskies over the years; I personally have been in a position of magazine reviewer where it was dozens a month, and you get an idea of what stacks up against what else, things you wouldn’t ordinarily have tried, and of course an idea of value. That takes our perception down different routes and, indeed – they’re just our perception. Maybe we also don’t want to necessarily follow the herd, though I doubt that’s a conscious decision.

      Anyway. Perhaps the fact that we aren’t following the herd makes us one of the largest whisky websites out there.

      1. ACE says:

        I have to agree with Fred. I’ve started to think some of the reviews on the site are intentionally done for shock and awe. I’m sure that is NOT the case but just to be different to the extreme is hardly winning trust from
        your readers. Taste is subjective and preference for whisky styles is real, and I’m more than happy to disagree with any malt mates on a particular whisky. But the rule of thumb says when two are equally experienced and both being objective, the end results shouldn’t diverge as much, or as often. As a whisky explorer of more than 10 years and a vivid adventurer who tries all styles without any pre-set biases, I can categorically say, Laphroaig Lore is perhaps the best NAS there is and superior to the 10 and the quarter-cask, and in no way using any objective standard, a 2/10. If you don’t like Laphroaig, don’t force yourself to review it.

        1. Mark says:

          ACE you know I think you are right to call me up on this. It was written a long time ago, five years almost. I don’t think much in scores anyway – they’re not really effective unless it’s the Robert Parker method – but my tone at the end of his piece was rather unprofessional, and not at all eloquent. I should quite possibly revisit this one.

          1. ACE says:

            Hi Mark, I’m new to and am catching up with many of the older articles. Thank you for your honest response. Now it kinda makes me feel bad for the tone of my comment. Perhaps you’ll have a better experience with a revisit, perhaps it will still do nothing to your tastebuds. I hope you’d appreciate that bottlings such as the Lore, despite being a NAS and rather expensive, are genuinely enjoyed by some of us experienced drinkers, and not just the Laphroaig fanboys and uneducated consumers. Keep up the good work.

  7. Tom says:

    I actually thought this was incredibly similar to the 10, albeit with a little more body and sweetness. However, the extra richeness didn’t make it any better than the 10 for me, and I came to the conclusion it just wasn’t as balanced overall. I tried adding a few drops of water, which took the edge off, but it still lacked the character I was looking for. It did have an exceptional nose and a longer finish, but for double the price of the 10, there is no way I’ll be getting this one again!

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