MORE TASTING NOTES FOR LAPHROAIG. I have posted several times, including here, about the taste of Laphroaig. Kelefa Sanneh had an article in the New Yorker (February 11 and 18) about another whisky distillery on the island of Islay, the Bruichladdich distillery. The article used Laphroaig as the touchstone for comparisons with Bruichladdich whisky. The moving spirit behind Bruichladdich whisky says that it was misunderstood because people thought that: “you’re not a true Islay, you’re not making peated whisky.” The whisky from the Bruichladdich distillery has phenols (“a rough proxy for smokiness”) of 3 to 5 parts per million. Laphroaig clocks in at phenol levels around 40 parts per million. Sanneh describes Laphroiag as “pungently smoky and startlingly medicinal” and says that the flavor is “sometimes compared to TCP, a European antiseptic.”
I learned that Islay is pronounced “eye-lah” with the accent on the first syllable and that the word “whisky”—the spelling in Scotland— comes from uisge, the Gaelic word for water.