March 12, 2007


Category: Feasting :: Permalink

It was Jim Jordan who first introduced me to single-malt Scotch back in January 2003 at Steve Wilkins’ house.  I can’t recall what we were drinking, though I suspect it was Glenfiddich.  At any rate, apart from a couple times when I had Glenlivet, virtually all the Scotch I’ve had since then has been Glenfiddich.  I don’t drink it often, but it is something I enjoy sipping once in a while.

On Saturday evening, however, I tried something new.  Moriah and I were out with her family for a meal at Porter’s, a great restaurant located in the old 1910 Medford train station.  It happens also to be the restaurant where I proposed to Moriah.  Someone else was picking up the tab, so I thought I’d try something different.

That something was a 10-year-old Laphroaig (pronounced La-FROYG).  And it was indeed something different.  The smell of it was a bit off-putting at first, a combination of permanent marker and leather.  It tasted smokier than Glenfiddich, and it took a bit of getting used to.  Even so, it didn’t become my favorite.

Since then, I’ve read online somewhere that many people prefer to add a dash of water which (I’m told) brings out the flavors better.  Maybe I’ll try that sometime.  The website makes me want to try it again, but then I’m a sucker for a website with stories about the men of previous generations who made the whiskey and who passed it on to the old guys who are making it today.  It’s probably not made by a bunch of old guys.  I’m sure the website wasn’t.  But still, they know that when it comes to Scotch the sense of history hooks some people, people like me.

So having said all of that, I have to reiterate that I’m no expert when it comes to Scotch.  So if you are, let me know.  If Laphroaig worth trying again?  And what else should I try the next time I’m out and someone’s offering to buy?

Posted by John Barach @ 2:11 pm | Discuss (10)

10 Responses to “Scotch”

  1. mike Says:

    It is all the rage among the teachers at work. I’m not scotch experts, but my head and coworkers are, and they swear by Laphroaig.

  2. John Says:

    Have you tried it, Mike?

  3. Jim H. Says:

    Macallan – any age is great but 18 year old is the best.

  4. Larson Hicks Says:

    John – I’ve never had it, so I can’t speak to it. Oddly enough, right before I sat down to read the blogs tonight, I poured myself a generous serving of 18 year Glenlivet that my brother bought me for Christmas (said he genuinely couldn’t think of something I’d prefer – I was honored)

    Adding a few drops of water is always the best route. Only time not to is before you sip it and you want to experience the nose right away – then add water, swish, and sniff. Then sip (always in a snifter if possibel – I got a set of 5 at a thrift store).

    I love McAllan – as Jim mentioned. Glenlivet is a good – slightly sweet scotch.

    I’ve heard Laphroiagh is good, but I’ve never tried it.

    Personally, I enjoy Glenmorangie’s 12 yr, Sherry wood finish, although I’ve heard some don’t like it. Their 10 year is ok, but highly acidic – spicy and buttery. Hmm…what else.

    There’s a cheaper blended scotch called Balentine (or something like that) that a friend got me and I really enjoyed with water – not really amazing, but nice.

    Anyways – I’ve got to go – good luck!

  5. matthew Says:

    I love Laphroig, well worth trying again, I’d have thought. And I agree with Jim about Macallan. Macallan is, like Glenfiddich, a highland malt, but is much better quality. Lagavullin (pronounced Lagavoolin) comes, like Laphroig, from the Island of Islay (pronounced Eye-La, with the accent on the first syllable). It’s less intense, and less briney than Laphroig, and has a lovely, dark smokey flavour. For something lighter and sweeter try Dalwhinnie, and for a really marvellous, complex, not-too-heavy, yet with a hint of peat whisky (NB!, not whiskey!), my favourite is Scapa.

  6. bennett carnahan Says:


    Though I also love Laphroig, I swear by The Balvenie. Try the 12 year double barrel, or (if you have a 100 clams to blow) the 21 year portwood.


  7. bennett carnahan Says:

    meant to say Lagavullin, not Laphroig. mea culpa and whatnot.

  8. Larson Hicks Says:

    Man – I left this really long comment last night and for some reason it never went through? I didn’t want to keep hitting “say it” cuz I hate it when people double comment, but – well, it never went through!

    Basically – I said that water is always a good idea – my ritual is: 1)pour scotch into snifter, 2)sniff & swirl for a few minutes, 3)add a few drops & repeat step ‘2’, 4) sip.
    I’ve heard Laphroaig is good, so I’d say give it another shot – if you’ve got the money.

    McAllen is really good. I like Glenmorangie as well – thier 10 year is a little acidic – butter any spicy. Their 12 yr sherry wood finish is very nice. I’m slowly working through a bottle of 18 yr Glenlivet right now that my little brother bought me for Christmas (said it was the only thing he could think I really wanted – I was honored).

    Anyways – happy scotch-tasting!

  9. Jim H. Says:

    I generally don’t recommend blended scotch whisky, but if you want to save a lot of bucks and still enjoy a good drink, go with White Horse. I believe it starts with Lagavullin and is extremely smoothe.

  10. mike Says:

    No, I haven’t had it, but I’m intending to. The alcohol laws in AL are horrible. There is a great store (I’m told) in Greenville, SC on our way to Kristen’s parents. Next time I roll through, I’m planning on picking up a bottle.

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