Read Time: 01:40

My first try of the peaty Laphroaig “Beast” was tenuous at best. I liked the strong smoky aroma, but it was a bit over-the-top – perhaps more burnt than smoky. The taste was OK – I neither disliked it nor actively liked it – but I was probably just more intrigued by it than not. Most of those trying it for their first time with me at the time were clear: “I don’t like it”, and most didn’t even want to finish their sample.

Having recently tried and appreciated the Laphroaig 2016 Cairdeas, I decided to give the original beast an after-dinner try – to be more specific, an after-dessert re-visit. Wow – what an unbelievable difference! Gone were the burnt or tarry aromas and flavors, and I almost could not remember why I originally was not a fan of this wonderful full-flavored scotch.

Well, …. after the sweet aftertaste from the dessert started to dissipate, I was able to re-capture some of those starker flavors … but, I had made it over-the-hump, still appreciating the whole bold picture beyond a few of the harsher notes which I began to note at the swallow.

It should be no surprise that certain foods can impact the flavors of certain beverages, whether they are wine, beer, or whiskey. To some degree, perhaps I should not have been surprised by this beauty-and-the-beast pairing of an excellent bread budding and the Laphroaig peat-monster – especially after my positive experience with the 2016 Cairdeas, finished in Madeira casks.

If nothing else, my experience was a reminder that one try cannot always determine the “like” or “dislike” outcome. As I have progressed, I usually start tasting neat, then perhaps follow by adding a touch of water, or trying with an ice cube, or over the rocks. At some point in the near future, I want to better understand the specific taste and flavor combinations that complement the various whiskeys in my collection.