Homeblend 16: Laphrelgin QC

by Matti

‘Hello peatiness my old friend, I’ve come to taste of you again…’ (from ‘The Smell of Silence’ – MacSimon and McGarfunkel).

It has been a little while since I tried blending with peated whisky (and those earlier attempts were… less than sucessful). This week I will present you with two quite different blends using two quite different peated whiskies. Kicking off is Laphroaig QC, which is a full-bodied and fairly complex whisky in its own right. In the past it has proven a fickle component, turning bitter easily and generally overpowering most blend-partners. For this new attempt I have selected Glen Elgin as the major component. I had good hopes that its powerful sweet fruit flavour would be able to stab through the wall of peat in the Laphroaig.

A schematic representation of the whisky homeblend 'Laphrelgin QC', containing Laphroaig Quarter Cask Single Islay Malt and Dal Elgin 12yo Single Speyside Malt.

As is usually the case when blending with peat, the lighter flavours from the non-peated whisky appear first: freshly poured the blend smells almost identical to the Glen Elgin on its own, with just a hint of smoke in the background. After a few minutes the heavier flavours are released, the smell transforms and becomes more balanced, letting peatsmoke and fruitiness exist side by side. The fruit is of the sour kind (apple, lemon, orange). The taste continues to show nice integration with smoke and brine leading the way, followed by sweet fruit (grapes, peach), marzipan and an almost ‘Caol Ila’-ish wet leaves-note. The finish is long and, dare I say it, rather¬†sophisticated. The fruit becomes dominant, with an ever-present whiff of campfire.

This has to be my most successful peated blend. It kicks you in the face… gently. The Laphroaig dominates, but only just. Especially in the latter part of the taste and the finish, the Glen Elgin adds some sophistication and complexity to what is already a fairly complex dram to begin with. Beware though, this needs to be married and also needs to sit in the glass for a bit (minimum 10 minutes). It’s good advice with any whisky, but especially with outspoken homeblends: let it sit, let it breathe, take your time!

Blend score: 4 Drams, Very Good

Later this week another peated blend with a different peated whisky. Will I be able to make it 2 for 2 or will I crash and burn once more? Tune in and find out!