Scotch whisky can be a daunting category to the uninitiated. First, just understanding the difference between single malt (i.e., Laphroaig), blended (i.e., Johnnie Walker Red), and blended malt (i.e., Johnnie Walker Green) whiskies can be confusing enough, but then understanding the different regional styles of Scottish single malt whiskies is yet another area that needs to be understood. Islay, one of the islands off of the west coast of Scotland, is its own region in the world of scotch, and the distilleries there produce not only some of the biggest and peatiest single malt scotch whiskies. These aren’t the type of whiskies that most people start with; these are world class whiskies for experienced single malt aficionados.
One of the greatest of the Islay whiskies is Laphroaig. Their 10-year single malt is advertised as “the most richly flavoured of all Scotch whiskies,” and while it is one of my favorite drams to enjoy now, I still remember my first encounter with it many years ago. When I was a young culinary school student, we were learning about Scotch whiskies and my instructor poured us all a big dram of Laphroaig. I remember distinctly tasting Band-Aids, iodine, and smoke, and that my palate was overwhelmed by the taste. Of course, now, as an experienced Scotch whisky drinker, I adore Laphroaig, and those very same flavors that I had trouble with so many years ago are now as comforting as an old friend.
On the nose, Laphroaig 10-Year has a smoky aroma with a hint of seaweed and an underlying sweetness. It has one of the most distinctive bouquets in all whiskies, and a Laphroaig drinker can pick their dram out of a blind tasting out by smell alone.
As Laphroaig hits the palate, it is surprisingly rich and mouthcoating for a single malt that is 10 years old. Notes of iodine, smoke, and sea air combine with a toffee and vanilla note to make this one of the most complex and enjoyable whiskies on the market. Big enough to pair with a cigar, Laphroaig will also reward those who appreciate the smoky, briny Islay style Scotch whiskies.
Sit and savor a dram of Laphroaig with a good book, and you’ll find that some of life’s best moments can come on a quiet evening with a great glass of Scotch whisky. Laphroaig 10 is one of the world’s greatest whiskies and, while not the easiest whisky to appreciate, will reward those who take the time to get to know it.
Disclosure: I received a sample of this product from Laphroaig for review. No other compensation from Laphroaig was received.