Nosing a Laphroaig is one of life’s great pleasures, and this one does not disappoint. You get bituminous coal firing a street lamp in a mining town during a solar eclipse. Sure, there’s some candied peppermints, but they were pried from the mouth of a chain smoker with troubling blood sugar readings. A beginner might think this is high-end vodka made from the charred potatoes in Satan’s root cellar. But it is better to imagine toothpick-thin cigarettes wrapped in ghost orchid petals.
The mouth is Christmas coal given to really, really bad children. You could see that they were grateful that their venality was remembered at least. What else accounts for the cheerful brightness of this whisky? To be sure, there’s smoke and ash, but each have health-giving qualities you wouldn’t associate with them. Drinking this, I feel like it would bring you back from the dead. But perhaps it’s more accurate to say that it draws death right out of you. Such is its temperament that it would taunt Death by poking his scythe and tugging at its robes.
The finish is all sweetness, but maybe that’s just a byproduct of the realization that it hasn’t killed you, but made you stronger. Upon closer inspection, I see that it’s a weird sweetness, as if formed from mutated molecules. I’ll call it “smoketose” and render it as a benzene molecule with a raised middle finger. The syrupiness and stickiness just cling to this dram with an elegant ferocity.
–On the scale of near death experience scales–
The Laphroaig 11 Year 2005 from The Exclusive Malts is the Greyson Scale—“Experiencers,” as they are called, can gauge the intensity of their experience by answering 16 questions that range across cognitive, affective, paranormal, and transcendental dimensions of experience. Which are precisely the dimensions that are engaged when I pour a glass of this whisky.
–Our thanks to ImpEx and The Exclusive Malts for the sample!