To date, I have sampled over 60 whiskies in seven months. Not too shabby, really. However, while I’ve sampled a good range of things, I’d really been avoiding some classics. Mainly the classics of Islay. I have tried a few Bruichladdich at the recommendation of a coworker (they were okay, but I didn’t love them), and I’ve also tried Bunnahabhian at another recommendation (which I liked a bit better.) But I’ve been avoiding the peat monsters of Ardbeg, Caol Ila, Lagavulin, and Laphroaig. I wanted to ease my way into it.
This week, I decided to take the plunge.
Laphroaig 10 Yr Old
Single Malt Scotch (Islay) 40% ABV
Nose: Smoke! After a few sniffs the smoke fades and you smell “whisky.” Although it’s quite different from the sherried whiskies I usually prefer.
Palate: Medicinal. Briny. Tarry. Not sweet, fruity, or fiery.
Notes: Interesting to try this classic. It’s not bad, per se, just different from what I’d normally get. Will I buy it? Definitely not. But is it horrid? Not that either.
Single Malt Scotch (Islay) 54.2% ABV
Nose: SMOKE. Dark sugar, but it makes you think of leather armchairs.
Palate: Fiery and smoky. Long and warming finish with spice and smoke following.
Notes: Water softens it a bit, more pleasant. Again, very interesting to try, but you won’t find a bottle on my shelf.
Also along these lines, I’m reading a fascinating book on Islay and its whiskies. It was recommended to me by a knowledgable Scotch drinker, and it took me months to get one… “Peat Smoke and Spirit: A Portrait of Islay and its Whiskies” by Andrew Jefford. I hope it sheds some light on these uniquely challenging (to me) whiskies.
And now for something a bit more “normal” for me…
Single Malt Scotch (Highland) 46% ABV
Nose: Sweet, but not fruity. Barley, oak.
Palate: Sweet, but fiery. Bit of vanilla, and warming. Little spice at the end.
Notes: Very tasty expression!
I’m excited to continue tasting! (And I’ll admit to dreaming of tasting on Islay, it’s bound to be even better there, right?)