Sunday, 24 January 2016

Highland Laird Williams 2006 for Anverness

A Tasty Dram Whisky Blog tasting notes

Peter De Decker, shopkeeper of the Belgian whisky store Anverness laid his hands on a young Islay whisky from Highland Laird last year. This so-called Williamson (Ok, it's a Laphroaig but you didn't get that from me) distilled in 2006 was to become the festival bottling of the annual Antwerp Whisky Festival. Peter is one of the driving forces behind the whisky festal.

The name Williamson is a clear hint to the legendary Elizabeth Leitch "Bessie" Williamson. While on holiday on Islay in the 1930's she responded to an advertisement for shorthand typist at Laphroaig Distillery. She got the position and what started as a temporary stay on the island turned out to be a lifetime. In 1954, after the death of Ian Hunter, she became Distillery Manager and a spokeswoman to the Scottish Whisky Association (SWA).


Identity Card Highland Laird Williams 2006 for Anverness

  • Highland Laird Williamson 2006
  • Laphroaig Distillery, Port Ellen (Islay)
  • 8 year old single malt
  • Alcohol: 46% ABV
  • Distilled in 2006 - bottled in 2015
  • Refill ex-bourbon cask

Tasting notes

Colour: Fairly light in colour. A pale white wine. The legs or tears showing on the glass are thin and fast. No artificial colouring at play here.

Nose: They didn't have to put it on the label. This is definitely Laphroaig. Young and spirity but instantly recognisable.  Sweet and heavy peat smoke and medicinal notes. An apothecary who made you some sort of medicine with lime and nam pla (thai fish sauce) in an old gym room. That summarizes the idea behind this whisky more or less. A forgotten gymnasium and rubber. Salted bacon and rubbing alcohol. A bonfire lighted with gasoline and and pine resin.

Mixed with a few drops of water it unleashes some lovely fino sherry notes. Cider vinegar, apples and roasted nuts. Again lots of medicinal aromas, asphalt and clay. Burning bitumin roofing sheets.

Taste: Peppery peat awakens the palate. Old sterile bandages and smoke. Chestnut honey gives this dram a silky mouthfeel that contrasts nicely with the peppery notes. Lots of earthy flavours. Roasted nuts, sulphur and pieces of flint.

Water gives it a bit of a bitter touch. Olive oil and bitter nuts. Smoke and tar. Haribo sweets sprinkled with pepper. Fresh fruits like nectarines mashed with chickpeas or hummus (houmous).

Finish: Quite a long and warm finish with pepper and peat. Baked mango with mint.

Price: €66 

To me this is Laphroaig at its best. Young and lively but packed with flavour. Far better than the standard 10yo in my opinion (beefing up the ABV to 46% could help the official bottling tremendously). I'm going to put a sample away to put it side by side with a Quarter Cask some day.


Highland Laird Williamson

Picture by my whisky loving colleague Laurent Bianchin

Thanks for the bottle share, Laurent!

Source and pictures: Bartels Whisky / Highland Laird
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