Nose: Roasting chestnuts over fire, burning maple wood and cranberry juice. Lightly brewed black tea, soot and iodine tincture. After adding water: Dried mint leaves, Bresaola and dry salami. Lard, roasted cumin seeds and old Port wine.
Palate: Dry roasted grains, juniper berries and crushed red pepper. Impressive entry even at this abv... Rooibos tea, dried cranberries and Baltic porter beer. Intense dark chocolate, dark roast coffee beans and cacao nibs. With water it gets tad peatier (Yes, right when you thought it couldn't get more..) and less medicinal. Also a little sweeter... Dry soot, fireplace ash and tangy barbecue sauce. Burnt lemon halves and fried bananas.
Finish: Long... Very long... Soot, ash and black pepper.
Overall: I really don't have a batch that I hate. I like some batches more than others but that's it. It's just a fantastic whisky. Widely available and fair priced... Seriously, a yearly release from a major distillery distributed all over the world rarely gets better than this. If you like drinking Laphroaig it already means that you like peat. Actually you like it a lot.. Then it's really hard to imagine anything else that would make you happier than this release every spring. Highly recommended...