It’s late Friday afternoon and everyone is sat watching the clock, anticipating the the start of the weekend. You think to yourself, today the weather is lovely. It has been shite the last few days, so how can I properly enjoy this beautiful day? My friend, I have the answer, a whiskey tasting of course.
As some of you may or may not know, Ryan “Galifinakis” Anderson and I have been traveling quite a bit and visiting breweries across the country. While on our journey, we also found time to visit the High West Distillery in Park City, Utah (expect more on that in the future). While we were participating in a tasting with Brendan Coyle, the master distiller, a lush with a “head like fuckin’ orange” approached the table and confidently asked if he could try some of our whiskey. In fact, he wanted to taste my newly acquired bottle of Caol Ila Distiller’s Edition in exchange for a look at his tattoo. Well today is your lucky day because now I am sharing the spoils with you:
After a few drams, we discovered our new friend Richard was from the Los Angeles area and was a proud collector of Scotch Whisky. While discussing what makes a good Scotch, Richard mentioned that he currently possessed an unopened bottle of Laphroaig 30 year! Richard kindly invited us to have a whisky tasting if we were ever in the area and we quickly explained that we would be in LA within a fortnight. Of course that is, after we stopped at a few breweries on the way.
Now, fast forward to a beautiful summer day on a rooftop condo in Santa Monica, California. At about five o’clock this is how our Friday night is looking: Auchentoshen Three Wood, Balvenie Doublewood, Oban 18, a Kentucky Bourbon, Lagavulin 16, Ardbeg Ugeadail, Ardbeg Corryvreckan, Laphroaig 10, Laphroaig 15, and the exorbitant Laphroaig 30. Not to mention the lovely spread of cheeses, meat, and chocolate provided by our host Corinna (one of Richard’s peers).
A basic whisky-tasting education ensued and we began a journey through the Lowlands, Speyside, Highlands and ending in Islay. Careers and ambitions were discussed and most of the world’s problems were solved as we rode the beast that is single malt Scotch Whisky into the depths of dusk.
The climax of the night was a mini-vertical tasting of the Laphroiag 10,15, and 30 years. The 10 year old Laphroaig had the classic Islay complexity of peat, medicine and seaweed. The 15 year was gently bringing more fruit and wood flavors. The crown jewel of the night, the Laphroaig 30 proved to be an arduous task as the the cork broke in half remaining in the bottle and hindering our enjoyment of said spirit. Luckily, we had a bunch of architects with us and a rescue device was swiftly engineered by our friend Alisa! After many laborious minutes, Alisa was able to remove the the obstacle of our journey to Lahproaig heaven. The 30 year old Laphroaig had beautiful dark brown tones and tasted mellow yet complex as it had fruit, sea salt, and oak, with lingering hints of peat-smoke . The whisky had many subtle tastes and aromas that I cannot recall from memory. Alas, I cannot give a proper review on this Whisky but believe me when I say it is one of the most refined Islay whiskies I have ever tasted. We all agreed that the Laphroaig 30 Year was one delicious roller coaster ride.
Many drams were enjoyed by all and the night continued as good friendships were made.