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20160124_174221My son spotted a red fox tiptoeing at the edge of the woods behind our house. My wife grabbed her camera, and to get its attention, she tapped the window. He stopped and squared off, looking directly into her lens. After a moment or two, he continued on his way through and into the thickening woodland backdrop.

While I didn’t get the firsthand experience, I have seen him before. Last year I caught a glimpse of him trotting through the neighbor’s flowerbed, around our pond, and through the mouth of the trail that leads back to the river. Ever since I staked that claim, I’ve been treated like a Sasquatch fanatic.

“You didn’t see a fox.”

“Yes, I did. It was a fox.”

“It was probably a cat.”

Yeah, just like that beaver that you claim to have seen in the backyard at our old house, which, by the way, is nowhere near a natural water source. You saw a groundhog. Anyway, whatever. I saw a fox, just as I reported. And now here he is as clear as day.

I think I’ll call him “Nessie.”

At first glance, it is a fairly simple photo for which Nessie posed so kindly. But “simple” is often the veil behind which complexity hides. When you look closer, there’s an interesting detail. Do you see it?FoxB02FoxB03FoxB04FoxB05

Now consider the Laphroaig 15-year-old.

Be careful not to glance at the 15-year-old with a simple eye, thinking that it couldn’t be anything more than a signature Laphroaig.

Yes a fox is a fox, and a Laphroaig is a Laphroaig. But look closer.

You’ll notice that this time around, the Laphroaig has tipped its canister cap in friendliness to invite a sour but mild citrus carried into its peaty bouquet by a salty sea wind.

Scanning the palate’s silhouette, take note that the citrus sour carries on, although it is so distinct that it almost seems like it is attempting to keep to itself in one corner while the grill grease and singed wood wrestle in the other.

The finish is medium – long enough to make you think you just smoked a Don Tomas, short enough to prove that its oily fingerprint isn’t too overbearing.

Now I know Nessie is a traveler, but I wonder if he’d ever consider resting for a moment to join me on the deck for a dram. As earthy as the Laphroaig 15 is, I’m sure it would pair well with his field mouse.Fox05