Ah, the Islay malt. It’s a different beast than my usual Highland single malt and a very different drink. This was my first foray away from the Highlands in some time and I found it to be a very refreshing change.
The Laphroaig distillery has added the Friends of Laphroaig program
to their multi-lingual website in order to allow people who enjoy the complex flavor
a place to meet others with at least one thing in common. The hook for
their Friends program is the ability to be granted a lease on a 1 foot
by 1 foot plot of land in the Laphroaig estate. In the interest of full
disclosure, I happily submitted my information and received my Deed in
the mail just a few weeks later.
Laphroaig is also a distiller who freely admits that every bottle will be a slightly different experience. Not necessarily a huge shift, but they strive for quality over consistency. I find that a nice switch from some of the homogenized aspects of what I have come to expect from the places that serve the same thing billions of times without any variation. I also appreciate their honesty in saying that not everyone will like what they provide. They make what they make and hope you enjoy it, but if not I get the feeling they would like to part friends and hopefully meet again in the future. Once again, it is nice to find a group that is willing to stick with what they do instead of trying to please everyone.
The first thing to notice about this malt is the initial aroma of what can best be described as fresh mulch. The peaty, almost boggy, smell is enough to discourage Michelle from venturing any further, but the reward is on the complex flavor that defies the words used to describe the wines that are usually reviewed on this site. In the flavor, a smoky taste comes forward and mixes with an oily texture and the still present peat is covered by a slight seaweed flavor to provide a very enjoyable drink that warmed me on the recent cold nights. I usually drank it with just a touch of cool fresh water.
A Scotch lovers drink. This is not one that is accessible or easy to
enjoy, but for those of us who truly love the taste and terroir of
Scotch, this is a fine example of what the small island of Islay brings
to the table. Hopefully I will be able to contrast with the 10 year Ardbeg I received as a gift a little while ago.
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