I have always loved scotch whiskey. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth (my idea of dessert is something with meat in it); I’m much more of a salty/sour type of guy, so I think that plays into it. The richness of peat and smoke in a good scotch is a fantastic way to settle in for the night. Or if that’s not your interest, it’s a good way to get nice and snookered before you go out doing whatever it is that you do when you get nice and snookered. I tend to eat a lot of Hot Pockets. Scotch and Hot Pockets. I’m formal but I like to party.
As I’ve detailed elsewhere, Laphroaig is my favorite scotch due to the strength of peat/smoke in the taste. My first experience with it was serendipitous: my parents met a gentleman at a wedding who ran a ski resort in Butthole Middle of Nowhere Colorado (pop. six swingers and a billy goat, 2010 Census) and offered them a good deal on a cabin over Christmas. We obliged, and in return decided we’d get him a nice bottle of scotch, as booze is an easy conversation topic between strangers and he indicated that he was a fan of scotch. We failed to account for the lack of civilization that borders B.M.o.N., CO and thus were forced to make do with the bountiful offerings of a liquor store attached to a gas station (for the on-the-go alcoholic with places to be). Surprisingly, they actually had three decent single-malt scotches, of which we selected Laphroaig. (Randomly. And I don’t mean TSA randomly. It was in a white box, after all.) As is the sign of a true gentleman, he offered us some when we gave him the bottle, and I was hooked. True men drink scotch, eat nothing but the flesh of wild beasts, and sport beards that on their own can squat 450 (don’t skip leg day PSA). That is, according to the Internet.
Bullsh*t. Masculinity has nothing to do with your beverage of choice, especially scotch. As expensive a delicacy as it is, we’d need to exclude entire generations of dudely dudes just for lack of access (e.g. Russians). The key word is delicacy – scotch is a symbol of refinement, given the assortment of high quality brands, meticulous attention to detail in production, and unique and complex flavors. So if an affinity for scotch tells you anything about a man, it is that he can appreciate some of the finer things in life. Similarly, if an affinity for scotch tells you anything about a woman, it’s that she almost certainly despises the Kardashians (at least in my experience).
I like scotch. What does it mean if you don’t? It means I won’t be getting you a bottle of scotch for Christmas. That simple. Take pride in what you drink (but I can’t support you ordering a Cosmopolitan… order a cranberry juice a la Leonardo in the Departed before you waste good vodka), enjoy it, and most of all enjoy it with friends. Now on to the booze.
From the moment you lift the glass to your mouth you get one sensation: smoke. Not the dive bar Marlboro smoke or a hobo dumpster fire smoke, but a nostalgic pleasant campfire aroma. Hints of seaweed on the palate should put you right on the coast of Islay where this nectar is distilled.
Laphroaig 10-Year Original Cask Strength
The Original Cask Strength is undiluted and thus is sold at the original alcoholic content of 57.3%. This stuff packs a punch and is (in my humble opinion) probably not the best idea for someone new to scotch. The nose is much sweeter than the ten year, and additionally much more medicinal. The taste is full of smoke (what kind of Laphroaig would it be otherwise) in addition to the sweet and medicinal quality.
In sum, I prefer the normal 10-Year to the Original Cask Strength as I can’t get enough of the peaty flavor and the original cask is a bit too medicinal for my taste. But try it out for yourself; it’s always good to have some solid scotch sitting around for a reflective evening alone or with the best of friends.