Age: No age statement
You don’t need to be a linguist to guess the meaning of Laphroaig’s latest expression. Brodir means Brother in Norse, a nod to the close historical connections between Islay and the Vikings that once roamed the island. Keeping in line with the latest Laphroaig expressions, Brodir was initially meant as a travel retail exclusive, but can now be bought pretty much anywhere. After an initial maturation in ex-bourbon barrels, this whisky was transferred to European oak casks that previously held ruby port. This finish has provided an extra layer of sweetness and sophistication, resulting in a softer Laphroaig than we are used to. In this sense, Brodir is very much in tune with its siblings, Laphroaig QA Cask and PX Cask. Brodir does come with quite a hefty price tag, which may raise some eyebrows for what is another NAS bottling. However, a lack of age statement certainly does not translate into a lack of flavour, as Brodir brims with depth, complexity and elegance. And of course, as may be expected from a Laphroaig, a healthy measure of peat smoke. Very tasty stuff!
Nose: Sweet and saline. A bouquet of fragrant wood emerges, like an oak tree in full blossom. Although the smoke is restrained for a Laphroaig, it is still noticeable underneath the initial onslaught of fruity aromas. This leaves the impression of a salty Christmas cake, or fruity cigar smoke. Notes of strawberries and cream slowly give way to a much nuttier profile.
Palate: Full-bodied and mouth coatingly oily, almost creamy. Intensely nutty, with the flavour of walnuts roasted over a peat fire. These give way to dark chocolate mousse, followed by smoked lobster stewed in sangria. On the whole, a captivating cocktail of two parts peat bog, one part ruby port.
Finish: Sharp, warming and pleasantly sweet. At last the peat reek is allowed to roam free, as the smoke develops into a lingering sensation of peated barley and somehow… bubblegum. Spectacular stuff though!
Verdict: This dram reminds me of the Laphroaig Cairdeas bottling of 2013 (another port finish), which is one of the best whiskies I’ve ever tasted. No wonder then that Laphroaig Brodir is up there with some of the finest peated whiskies to receive an additional finish. The smoothness and complexity of this Laphroaig make me wonder about the age of the whisky, as it is reminiscent of a much older, heavily sherried dram. While I suspect it to have aged little more than the standard 10 year old expression, Laphroaig Brodir is of a quality that easily belies its age. Like the Laphroaig QA cask, this is a bit of a tamed Laphroaig, but if you like finished peaty whiskies, I cannot recommend this dram enough!