Spirited Adventures: Lagavulin

It all started when the famous actor, Erik Harrison, showed me this…

I decided to give myself a project: learn about scotch. I’d been a vodka man for nearly 20 years, but scotch was a libation I didn’t know much about…and frankly, it was a bit of an upgrade.  Afterall, vodka is one of the party girls.  So I began reading and tasting, and then tasting some more. I tasted a dozen scotches, mostly single malts. Names of faraway distilleries invited me, each scotch having its own personality. The collegial Macallan. The unassuming Oban. The mighty Laphroaig!

But then it happened. I was standing in a liquor store in Fenwick Island, Delaware and I saw it. As soon as the name appeared to me, I could hear Brian Cox’s voice. The cognac of whiskies. Like a depth charge. Pow. Lagavulin. As a relative novice in the world of single malts, I did not nearly grasp the gravity of this moment.  I selected without fear.  I purchased without concern.*

Bring an utter novice in the world of single malts, I was bowled over by Lagavulin’s complexity at first sip. It was a rolling river of mystery, a waterfall of complexity. I wasn’t discouraged, but excited. This scotch wasn’t ready to reveal itself to me. I put the bottle away for the night after one glass neat.

Second glass, rocks. I wanted to crack the code.  I went easy on myself and tried to unlock this scotch by force. It was a ride in an old luxury car. Dated, but comfortable…made for elegance. There was subtlety and enormous depth. The door was unlocked, just not yet open.

On the third night, I was in.  I struggled to stop at two glasses. What an amazing discovery!

Now you’ve probably noticed that I really haven’t told you what Lagavulin tastes like. I prefer to simply describe my experience. Tasting notes rarely makes sense to me. Personally, I don’t know what iodine tastes like. The point is this: take the time to taste scotch. Drink it slowly. Ignore the sanctimonious bullshit that requires you to drink it this way or that.  Do what you want, because the flavors are yours to unlock and they will be different for you than anyone else. However you choose to enjoy a beauty like Lagavulin, do it because you can.