Royal Mile Whiskies is one of the UK's leading independent whisky and spirits retailers. The company was established in 1991 and has established a worldwide customer base. They currently have two shops - one on Edinburgh's Royal Mile and one in London's Bloomsbury Street - with a third shop in Edinburgh specialising in cigars. Royal Mile Whiskies have one of the best whisky retail websites on the net and in addition to an expansive range of whisky, bourbons and other spirits, the website is also home to in depth distillery profiles, whisky history and staff tasting notes. For this reason, we included it in our recent Top 10 Whisky Websites feature. Check it out at www.royalmilewhiskies.com.
Details of the whisky
Regularly, the guys at Royal Mile Whiskies carefully select and bottle their own whiskies and the latest of these have just been released. This example is from the famous Laphroaig distillery on the isle of Islay - it is bottled from just a single cask and at the natural cask strength of 56.8% ABV. The whisky was distilled in June 1999 and bottled in April 2010 and there are only 309 bottles available. It can be purchased from either of their shops or from the website at £39.95 each.
A world famous distillery
Laphroaig is one of the best known whisky distilleries in the world. The name is derived from the Gaelic for 'beautiful hollow by the broad bay' and is pronounced la-froyg. The distillery is located on the island of Islay, which lies off the west coast of Scotland. Laphroaig and Islay are renowned for producing very smoky, peaty flavoured whisky and Laphroaig's 10 years old is the best selling whisky of this style in the world. The distillery was founded in 1810 and is currently owned by drinks corporation Beam Global. It has an annual production capacity of 2.9 million litres.
Our tasting notes
The colour of this whisky is a pale straw yellow and the nose is vibrant, aromatic and full of smokiness. The smoke has an ashy bonfire nature to it, with some damp peat and moss behind it. Behind this are some other aromas that combine well to give an excellent and promising nose - sweet vanilla, cereal grains (think of rolled oats or grain husks), fresh green fruits (imagine pears and apples) and a distinct note of dried grasses. On the palate, this whisky is again vibrant and fresh with a lovely mix of tangy citrus (think of lemon zest), hot spices (imagine red chillis and peppercorns) and sweet ash-like bonfire smoke. The smokiness is slightly less prominent than on the nose and allows further character notes through more easily. These include vanilla, oatmeal, fresh green pears (reminiscent of Poire William liqueur), some saltiness (think of brine) and a slight hint of acrid rubber. The finish is long and fresh, with plenty of that bonfire ash smoke and sweetness. It grips your palate and won't let go!
What's the verdict?
This Laphroaig 1999 is a cracking dram! It exhibits great balance for something with such a high alcohol level - it maintains a good level of intensity, spiciness and smokiness throughout. We found that the addition of water dampened the smokiness, softened the spiciness and thinned the texture in the mouth. A very impressive independent bottling - well done to Royal Mile Whiskies. We thank Matt Tilbury in the London shop for giving us the chance to sample this new whisky.
Please note - the image above was taken from the website of Royal Mile Whiskies.