Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Laphroaig 30yr

To commemorate a special event, I recently purchased a bottle of the rare Laphroaig 30yr from a private party for a very reasonable price. After engaging one another in a bit of whisky talk, the seller decided to pour a bit of the Laphroaig from another bottle for me to taste so I wouldn't have to break the seal on the one I just purchased. That "bit" wound up being a solid 3-4 drams! Cody, you're a true gentleman!

Laphroaig 30yr (original distillery bottling 43% ABV)

To date, this was the oldest whisky I've tasted so I took a few pointers on how to enjoy this dram to its fullest. After pouring the dram, I had a tiny bit of Glenfiddich 15yr to get me ready (something cheap and sherried).

A: Deeply amber. Fairly oily.

They say older whiskies tend to require more time to open up and reach their full potential... the better whiskies will evolve multiple times. So I waited with the Glencairn glass covered.

N (after 10min): A tiny bit of sherry. Mellow iodine and peat of Islay.

N (after 20min): Sherry sweetness is more pronounced. Islay elements turning briney and overall, mellowing out.

N (after 30min): Even more sherry. Brine calmed down considerably.

T (finally): Sherry sweetness, but something is noticably different and foreign. Malty. All the usual sea elements plus a little clam/oyster brine. Finishes with sweet fruits I don't recognize.

N (with water): More malt. More sweet fruit.

T (with water): Still sweeter. Fruits getting stronger... moreso on the arrival. Smoother. Still quite peated, but not as intense. Drying finish. Sea elements almost gone (tiny bit in finish).

As more time elapsed (into the 45min territory), the peat nearly disappeared entirely. The foreign fruits became even more pronounced and started to resembled papayas or possibly guava. The oakyness finally started giving off hints of tobacco.

This wasn't the most complex whisky I've ever tasted, but it certainly had the most unfamiliar flavors. The development/evolution was absolutely spectacular.

Hot Toddy, anyone?

I'm about a full season too early with this, but my friend Erik (who is feeling under the weather today) and I were discussing the medicinal properties of Hot Buttered Rum. Basically, the only difference between Hot Buttered Rum and a Hot Toddy is the underlying spirit (Rum vs. Scotch whisky). Using ingredients I already had readily available, I decided to experiment with a bottle of Isle of Jura 10yr I really didn't want to finish.

(l to r): hot water, nutmeg, honey, cinnamon, unsalted butter, Isle of Jura 10yr (original distillery bottling post-recent redesign 43% ABV)

What an interesting elixir! I feel better already (although I was not suffering from any ailment prior to consumption)!

However, next time I will modify the recipe slightly. A touch less water, a touch less butter, brown sugar instead of honey (or in addition to), and something other than Jura. Although in Hot Toddy format the Jura is quite a bit more palatable, I can still tell it's Jura. Most recipes I've seen call for a cheap Scotch blend, but I feel something along the lines of a Springbank will really make this wintery beverage something to savor.