Wine drinker’s Scotch Review | Laphroaig 10 year
I know this is a wine website, but I decided to switch things up with a Scotch review. Why Scotch? Why this Scotch?
Over the last year I was introduced to the world of Scotch and of all the ones I’ve tried, it is Laphroaig that I enjoy the most. I was first introduced to Laphroaig on a Friday afternoon at a friends office. I know it sounds so cliche, sitting in a plush leather chair in the C.E.O’s office, 3pm on a Friday, sipping Scotch! It is a cliche, an Awesome one!
This particular Scotch appeals to me because it is incredibly rich. I find most Scotch’s to have a sort of medicinal flavor to them.
I don’t know if you ever remember walking on train tracks as a kid, but if you have you will remember the aroma of the rail way ties. Creosote. and Peat. If you haven’t experience walking on train tracks, maybe you are familiar with the aromas of campfire, extinguished campfire, or the smell of your clothes the next morning.
All of these aromas might sound off putting, but I assure you they are not. If you are a wine nerd like me, you will find Laphroaig one of the most fascinating beverages you’ll ever try.
If you like wines with a nice long finish, you’ll love this. The finish goes on for 5 to 10 minutes!
Important! How to drink this drink (and Scotch in general) Mix the Scotch 50/50 with cold water. Ice cubes can be added, but they tend to dull and mute the flavors in much the same way that red wine can be when it is served too cold. I use a couple of ice cubes because I live in Phoenix, Arizona and it is really never below 80F or 27C and so a little ice can make the drink more refreshing. Do not use tap water, use purified or spring water. The water helps elevate the aromas, and softens the heat. Drinking 80 proof straight up, especially one as rich as this one, will probably be too much.
As a wine drinker, have you enjoyed Scotch? Other drinks? Feel free to comment!
Hey Tim, I look forward to trying this scotch. Based on your preferences (same as mine) in a scotch, I would suggest you try a bottle of 12 year old Grangestone. It’s a new single malt scotch available at Total Wines for about $23. It’s 80 proof. I’ll be interested to see how you like it. I get lots of caramel and peat.
Thanks for the comment Tom, I will have to pick up some Grangestone. Another really nice Islay Scotch is Ardberg, although it is quite a bit more expensive
I had the pleasure of imbibing some Lagavulin 16 last week. Have you tried it?
Yes I have, and really enjoyed it. Funny thing you mention it because I was thinking about reviewing Lagavulin next!
50/50 with water??? seriously?
Yes that is what I was taught 🙂
couple of drops of filtered water is all you need. just enough to release aromas.
I pickup up a bottle of Laphroaig 10yo yesterday. Awesome!! Thanks for the tip. Have you checked out Laphroaig on Facebook? It’s quite a cult. As for the proper way to drink a single malt, I was told by a bartender in SF that you should place 1 or 2 icecubes in the glass, no water. Let it sit, swirl it, let it chill a little and you’re good to go. I guess that accomplishes the same thing as a couple drops of water plus it chills it down. Cheers!
I take it you tried and liked it? cheers!
The grangestone 12 really is quite marvelous and well balacned indeed. For the price I truly felt ii had stolen it, also consider Highland Park 12, a personal favorite of mine
Will have to keep an eye out for them! thanks for the comment!
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I was kinda thinking the same thing
As a wine lover I have never thought of Scotch. Recently I had the opportunity to try several and realized I have been missing out. I enjoy wine with smoky traits and tried Speyside single malt 12year. Wonderful lingering smoke. Now I’m hooked!
I will have to try that next!
Try it first neat, no ice, no water, nothing.
Then add literally a couple drops of purified water to open it up.
Taste again, you’ll be surprised how different it can taste with just a drop or two of water.
Never add ice, never add coke, never add 50/50 water.
If you ever attend a scotch tasting you won’t find any ice, everyone around you will be warming the glass in their hands and a few will add a tiny bit of water. Because that it how you taste scotch.
Now, all that being said, it’s your scotch, drink it however you think it tastes best! 🙂
Objectively, ANY spirit mixed 50/50 with water will have its flavor substantially diluted. Also, chilling any alcoholic beverage will mask its flavor. This is why any real connoisseur or frankly any reasonably informed purchaser of expensive single malt should hesitate to chuck a handful of ice cubes into a glass of whisky from an $80 bottle. 80 proof may seem harsh when you first drink it, but with a little practice a well made 80 proof spirit will not taste too strong. My friends and I routinely drink cask strength whisky (and whiskey) tipping the scale at a whopping 120 proof.
As for that Grangestone, it’s a private label product made exclusively for Total Wine. Don’t read much into the word “exclusive” in this case – it’s not a compliment. I’ve tried the different versions and can’t say that they are just not memorable. The best thing about them is the price. Total Wine pay bonuses to their 20-something spirits “experts” to get you to buy Grangestone and – so it would seem – Battlehill. Neither is truly a premium product. Grangestone tastes like it is made from tired old casks. Battlehill is the budget line of Duncan Taylor and also tastes like tired casks; the Berry Bros products on the adjacent shelf are far, far superior, yet I hear ignorant salesmen telling people that Battlehill is one of the best ranges from an independent bottler. Bollocks. Duncan Taylor’s own Rare Auld, Rarest of the Rare, and NCS series blow away any crappy Battlehill. If you actually like Laphroaig, Grangestone and Battlehill are frankly not worth your time. Any serious red wine person would do well to try a cask strength GlenDronach. How about the sherry-influenced Ardbeg Uigeadail, which contains a combination of sherry and bourbon cask matured whisky, but is peaty like the L10 reviewed above?
Best advice? Go to an independent shop with a decent whisky (and whiskey) selection and talk to the owner or manager about the different whiskies. He (or she) is less likely to care what you buy and more likely to give you helpful information.
Now, lest you think I am just an angry a scotch troll, I am also a wine drinker. My wines of choice are things like Rhone valley reds (been grooving on some Gigondas lately), well-cellared California cabs, vintage Champagnes, and of course the occasional decent Bordeaux. The wine equivalent of Grangestone scotch probably would be something like Clayhouse Adobe Red. It’s not going to revolt anyone and most will enjoy it to a degree, but it’s not substitute for the delicious, beautifully cellared 1994 Beringer Private Reserve I had recently or the lovely 1996 Robert Mondavi Reserve cab I opened last month for my mother or perhaps the delicious 2006 Altamura cab my friends and I drank in March on one of our first great spring evenings in Dallas. Now you know that I am pretty serious about wine, too.
Anyway, I hope that this information will be helpful to someone.
Thanks for the comments. I appreciate you taking the time to contribute constructively, cheers!