Any industrial process needs some form of quality control and so to the tasting. We were offered was the Triple Wood, which is finished in sherry casks so that the intense medicinal, phenolic impact has been mellowed by some sweeter notes and a bit of extra chewiness. I had not tasted it before and although I enjoyed it left me a little perplexed as I have always thought that Laphroaig is the most readily identifiable of malts (sea, salt, seaweed and TCP) but if I had been tasting this blind I would not have associated it with the distillery. This is probably a good thing – we don’t want to get too set in our ways. Things have to move on and experimenting with peat and sherry seems is interesting . But it is to one side of my own, personal Laphroaig association and why I have a particular fondness for it.
Most years I travel to France for a holiday and the ferry trip is an enjoyable part of it. When you have parked the car and gone up to the passenger decks all the tension of getting ready, packing, driving, and arriving in time, melt away and you can enjoy a period of weightlessness as you are carried over the sea. Always there is the bar to help with the relaxation and my habit is to slowly sip on 10 year old Laphroaig and watch the pattern of the waves as the boat cuts through the water. These are moments to savour slowly and the whisky is part of it. Laphroaig 10 means the sea for more reasons than the flavours in the glass.