• Robert Majamaa

A smoky dram, distinct from other whiskies

Laphroaig Select, Islay Single Malt

A bartender once told me you can always tell when someone opens a bottle of Laphroaig. Its aroma is able to punch through the other scents of the bar.

Laphroaig Select is one of the no-age whiskies that are in the market — in my opinion — primarily to satisfy the demand of scotch whisky’s growing popularity.

Most consumers aren’t waiting 12-plus years for a product to age.

A golden colour in the glass, the first nosing of Select does include the expected Islay peat smoke influence and a hint of fruits.

Tasting the Select only hints at the Islay lineage: this whisky is subtle, the flavours tease and are difficult to pinpoint.

The Select is a light-feeling whisky that is perfect with a few drops of water or on the rocks. I’d pour this for friends as an introduction to the Islay whisky.

Laphroaig, incidentally, is the southernmost distillery on Islay and it’s also the first you’ll arrive at if you turn east from the arrivals dock of the Kennacraig - Port Ellen ferry. Looking at a map of Islay, this appears to be about a 40-minute walk after disembarking. No doubt a visit would be the best introduction to the island.

And appropriately, if I can stretch the homology, Laphroaig is the distillery that introduced me to the Islay whiskies, albeit at the local pub near the shores of the Bow River rather than the salty Carraig Fhada.

Still, Laphroaig delivered the first taste of Islay, a smoky dram distinct from other whiskies.

You will find a selection from Laphroaig at every bar in the world. Well, probably not, but it is worth it to look. About $78.

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