Travel retail outlets, though mostly mundane and lacklustered, serve for a lovely oasis as distilleries use this platform as testing grounds for some of their most recent releases.
The PX Cask, one of many NAS expressions from the distillery, was introduced in early to mid 2012 and remains a travel exclusive in many parts of the world. It was infact introduced when the choice was made to move the Triple Wood into domestic markets. Funny enough, this Laphroaig is triple matured too – American oak at its very core, laid to mature in quarter casks and finally rested in European casks that previously held Pedro Xiemenes.
ABV : 48%
Nose: A fusion of caramel, seaweed and brine, infused with smoke and earthen wood. Raisins, and dried fruits, butter with nougat and dark cocoa is finished off with green pepper, ginger peels and a pinch of nutmeg.
Taste: Caramel and bits of licorice are soon welcomed by ash, leather and brine. There’s layers of sherry, sultanas, figs and cocoa with some distinguishable traces of tropical fruits and ginger.
Finish: Medium to long, though dry; Rich sherry sweetness, smoke and some ginger spice
It’s a no brainer – with a little ‘something something‘ left in my Laphroaig 10, I had to call a stand off with this Travel retail expression and the differences weren’t subtle.
The PX has a thicker, heavier texture with peat and brine laying the foundation and distinguishable sherry notes intertwined harmoniously. The bold flavours in time softly transition to a softer, sweeter, grape and custard like sweetness leading to a longer finish, most likely owing to its higher proof. The 10 as you can imagine delivers bolder, sharper peatier notes, with a mild sweetness trailing towards the end.
The two differ very little in shades, the PX being darker only by wee bit. You would have thought it to be much darker owing to the ‘Triple Wood’ combo, but wasn’t. Having said that as is the case with the 10, the PX too appears to be tainted with artificial colouring.
All in all, the PX does maintain the Laphroaig decorum, leveraging flavours from each of the casks it was housed in. They are very different and I find them both at par. But if I was to chose, the 10 would be a hairline ahead only because the richness of the PX might sometimes be overwhelming and not something you can sip on as regularly.
Preference : Neat, ice or a tad bit of water.