Laphroaig Brodir was originally released as a travel retail exclusive, and if 2020 has taught us anything, best not to bank on travel exclusives... However, Laphroaig Brodir is matured in ex-bourbon casks and then transferred over, for an unspecified finishing period, into ex-Ruby Port European oak casks. The name Brodir translates into 'Brother' from ancient Norse. You didn't know that? It's ancient Norse, to make sure they aren't over stepping the mark on similar Scotch brands such as Highland Park with their viking-based whisky references.
Finding a smoky single malt that is matured in ruby port casks is not easy, and that's exactly why Laphroaig Brodir is a special scotch whisky. This whisky has the character roots of an Islay whisky, but it has then evolved during its' maturation. Already the deep mahogany colour is leading you into what enormous intensity is captured in these bottles.
The aroma on the nose of fireside logs burning are accompanied by hints of honey. On the palate the smoky peat stays in the foreground again while hints of liquorice, a mellow sweetness appearing, hints of citrus and a salty spiciness complete the overall impression. Liqourice is the dominant flavour that stays present throughout. The finish is long lasting and the whisky turns slightly towards an touch of dryness.
The Laphroaig Brodir was created in remembrance of a certain part of the Scottish history. A long time ago the Scots maintained a close relation to the Nordic folk and its culture. This connection was seen as somewhat brotherly and thus the name Brodir was chosen to reflect the intense tie between those peoples.
The Laphroaig Distillery is one of the many active distilleries on the Isle of Islay. It was founded by Donald and Alexander Johnston in 1815 and is held by Beam Suntory today.
It is located close to the village Port Ellen and is the southernmost whisky producing company on that island. Due to the closeness to the sea it is often said that the whisky becomes slightly salty during the maturation. In the case of the Laphroaig Brodir this point turns out to be true.
Furthermore, the Islay whiskies have the reputation of being heavily smoky. Maybe it could be seen as a trait of the single malts from this island.
There are a wide range of different ports available with ruby port being one of the most extensively produced. After fermentation the port is held in concrete or stainless steel vats, which preserve the vibrant and vivid colour and likewise prevent oxidization. Therefore, it's an ideal solution by combining this rich and sweet fermented wine with a highly phenolic and equally rich Laphroaig spirit, and it produces some very interesting results. As you would expect the Port has added some sweet fruitiness which interacts really nicely with the pungent smokiness typical of Laphroaig.
Tasting Notes: Laphroaig Brodir Port Wood Finish
Nose: Yes, it's an Islay Scotch, so peat smokiness is there, and with that comes medicinal, but sweetened, almost like smoked strawberries (is that a thing? if not, it should be - patent pending...). The maritime and seaweed coastal qualities are present. Dark berries and raisins. The smoke is mild and disappears after a while. Sea salt, damp-loamy soil.
Taste: On the tongue one recognizes the origin: phenolic, smoky, salty. Then come the dark berries from the nose, red grapes, raisins and figs, it glides into total sweetness. Fine-sour chocolate and oak spice press on the surface, slightly bitter herbs come.
Finish: Well balanced though on the shorter side. Spicing more evident here with the cinnamon being joined by white pepper, clove and liqourice.