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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tuesday Tasting: Three Laphroaigs

Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we head to Islay off the west coast of Scotland for some single malt.

Islay is where the pounding sea meets earthy peat to create the conditions that produce deep and relentless whiskies. Islay malts will change your perspective on whisky. Smoke, salt, peat and wood come together in Islay whisky and roll toward you like the waves of the Irish Sea.

Islay whisky is the part of a good many famous blended Scotches because it delivers a full body flavor, with notes of smoke and the sea. Surprisingly, Islay is just 25 miles long. That is not a very big place to be home for so many big whiskies. One of the best known whiskies on the island is Laphroaig, distilled along the southern shore since 1815. I recently sampled three of the whiskies from the distillery for a column I am writing for All About Beer magazine.

Laphroaig 10 Year Old: This Islay malt weighs in at 86 proof. An attractive golden color, there is plenty of peat upfront with a slight sweetness that lingers. The peat in this one leaves a drying sense on the tongue that has touches of heather.

Laphroaig Quartercask Malt: This has a vanilla and sweet grass nose. Complex flavor, with peppery spice, nice level of peat and a long layer of smoke to finish the drink. Smooth for a 96 proof whisky.

Laphroaig 15 Year Old: Brownish gold and weighing in at 86 proof, this is a round and rich malt. Caramel notes, clear Islay peat and salt. Extremely proud oak finish.

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