You’ve been drinking bourbon all year – it’s time to shake it up with a good Scotch whisky for Christmas. Why? Because you can drink bourbon all year – you can’t drink Laphroaig whisky. Or you wouldn’t want to. It’s one of those glorious camp-fire-in-a-kilt Islay whiskys that makes you feel warm and smoky on the nose and when you take a sip – well it’s like one of those Highland ponies kicked you in the face.
And that is not – not necessarily, at least – a bad thing. You’ve been climbing a wall of party food and small talk for the last few weeks you need something to make you feel alive. Sure the market is on a tear, but there is that Wil E. Coyote feeling about it… just don’t look down. That’s no way to go through the holiday season.
These cold nights are the best time of the year to grab a good, peaty scotch whisky. If you’ve got a fireplace, build one; if you have a leather chair, sit in it, if you have a dog, let her curl up at your feet. Read a book; an old one. Obviously, you don’t have to do all that to enjoy a glass, but you get the picture. And with the slightest bit of imagination, that’s where you’ll go when you put a nose into a dram.
One of the factors of the recent bourbon boom was it taking a page from the Scotch playbook and heading back to its roots. Scotch might need that page back. Some of these newer scotches are trying to splash their way into trendiness with rum and tequila barrels are too clever by half and only ending up with what tastes like an interesting misfire. Laphroaig has its different expressions, but they aren’t that different: it holds onto that iconic peaty profile, but with a creamy nuttiness at the back of it that really comes through on the palette.
In truth, you don’t need a castle, kilt or claymore to make it work. You wouldn’t want it on the beach, granted, but it is a great cold weather whisky: Intriguing and something to look forward to year after year.
It may not actually facilitate beard grown, but it sure as hell feels like it. It’s magnificent. Last year I brought in a doe on Christmas eve and butchered the thing myself. I chose a Laphroaig to sip for the task. For a number of reasons involving PETA and good taste, I’m not showing that picture.