Coming off Nigel Manley's fascinating and tasty Scotch and Irish whiskey tasting at Max London's Restaurant last week that benefited a new project by Slow Food Saratoga Region aimed at teaching basic cooking skills to the general public, my interest in expanding my Scotch experience was stoked.
With taste memories of the Auchentoshen, Glen Garioch, Knappogue Castle and especially the Laphroaig still fresh in my mind, I opened a bottle of 16 year old single malt Lagavulin from Islay. The cask strength Laphroaig was the smokiest of the bunch last Thursday, but it was just a tad harsh going down, especially without the addition of a couple of drops of taming water. The Lagavulin wasn't necessarily better than the Laphroaig, just a wee
bit different. They were not as different as each of the whiskeys from
the other night were from each other, though. There was still a family
resemblance from their Islay roots.The Lagavulin was even smokier with hints of salt and seaweed, but it was also smoother and not nearly as harsh as the unwatered Laphroaig.Unlike the Laphroaig, I did not drink it with food. Instead I drank it with good friends after dinner. It was a true pleasure to sit, sip, share and contemplate this complex golden elixir. I think I could get used to this Scotch stuff.