So, why does the family dog run and hide every time you break out this particular edition? Let me explain…
Laphroaig. It just sounds rough, doesn’t it? (Pronounced luh-froyg.) Linguistically, it is a combination of harsh guttural and labiodental sounds. In fact, it almost sounds like something you’d say in a weaker moment as someone cuts in front of you on the freeway. “Aw, laphroaig! What’s up with this guy?!” It just doesn’t sound very pleasant. But sometimes you just need “unpleasant.”
Sometimes, after a busy day in your hermetically sealed life, you need to get your hands dirty working in the yard or on the car. Sometimes after a day of salad forks, you need to pick up some barbecued ribs. Sometimes you just don’t want a Scotch that is light and clean–you crave something earthy, something that reminds you that within the planet’s very core is a fire that was ignited by the finger of God and it keeps the world spinning, and that same fire has translated to the smoky havens of tarry grit and determination that drove early man to survive and thrive — and this resolve has been bottled. Sometimes, just sometimes, when you need a good drink, it needs to be “rough.” That’s Laphroaig.
Although the Laphroaig 10 year old isn’t necessarily their top edition, it is and remains exceptional. The nose is an ashen boot that kicks you in the face. The boot tread holds peaty, smoky cinders. You smell it and are transported to the little isle from which it came — except there’s no distillery, it is a little metal still being manned by a grizzled barbarian bundled in animal fur and leather strappings.
The palate delivers something similar. The peat is there, but once the initial tarry-ness washes through, there is something a little sweeter discovered hiding in the tide, but I’ve never been able to put my finger on it precisely. That is part of its mysteriously enjoyable character.
The finish is no mystery. You’ve been roasting something meaty on an oak branch in your fire. You have removed the meat, the fatty oils still sizzling on the stick, and then you lick the stick. Interestingly enough, it’s not bad. Salty charcoal and a bit buttery.
In the end, you are completely surprised at just how much you enjoyed the dram. It seemed so dirty and so uncivilized. And yet, you catch yourself thinking, even if only for a moment, “I was born in the wrong country, maybe even the wrong era. I would have made a great barbarian. I wonder if that nerdy sword-shop is still open at the mall.” You hop in the car and discover that it is.
Now with glass in hand and your broad sword by your side, the only thing left to do is kindle a flame and roast an animal. Thusly, don’t be surprised if the family dog runs and hides every time you break out the Laphroaig.