Spring 2020 Editors’ Choice: Laphroaig, Larceny, Old Pepper

In each issue of Whisky Advocate, the editors select three whiskies that we consider the most impressive, considering score, price, and availability. For Spring 2020, our Editors’ Choice whiskies include a single malt scotch, a bourbon, and a Kentucky rye.

For all whiskies reviewed in the Spring 2020 issue, check out the full Buying Guide.


Laphroaig 10 year old Cask Strength (Batch 011)
94 points, 58.6% ABV, $70
Laphroaig’s latest batch continues the high standards set by previous releases. More sherry on the nose compared to Batch 010, with malt, sea spray, lemon, antiseptic, and big notes of peat. Citrus fruits, sherry, brine, and peat smoke on the full palate, with vanilla and charred oak. The finish is long, sweet, and medicinal, with licorice singed over a peat fire.—Gavin Smith

Larceny Barrel Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon (Batch A120)
93 points, 61.6% ABV, $50
Powdered sugar, vanilla frosting and other bakery shop notes on the nose, as well as leather, iced tea, dark chocolate, cherries, and plums. The palate offers spiced chocolate, toasted almonds, cinnamon, pepper, vanilla cream, and well-integrated oak. The finish is spicy and powerful, with semi-sweet chocolate, raisins, walnuts, leather, and pipe tobacco. A big whiskey that carries its proof remarkably well—savory and sweet, but with subtlety and balance.—David Fleming

Old Pepper Finest Kentucky Oak Straight Rye (Batch K02)
91 points, 58% ABV, $70
This whiskey’s lush qualities are immediately evident on the nose, which is redolent of Mexican chocolate, cedar spice, fresh dark berries, raisin-studded stollen, and balsam boughs. Without water, oak dominates the palate, but add a few drops and much more unfolds: grape cough syrup, blackcurrant jam, mocha, and rich spice, with more blackcurrant, allspice, pepper, and lingering herbs on the finish. There’s lots to unpack here, all of it good.—Susannah Skiver Barton

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