Single Malts Fit for a King
When it comes to the subject of whether His Royal Highness Prince Charles is suitable to be king of Great Britain, two distinct schools of thought exist. There are those who see him as a buffoon who talks to plants and dabbles in environmental politics. And then there are those of us who know about his deep love for his country and its people and products—particularly its single-malt whisky.
Anyone in the industry who has met him will tell you he is a knowledgeable whisky enthusiast. His favorite malt is Laphroaig, the chili burrito of scotch whisky, a love-it-or-hate-it mix of phenol, peat, tar and seaweed that explodes in the mouth. That power punch can be too much for some, but if you’re like Prince Charles, you’ll know that once the smoke has cleared, different Laphroaigs have different qualities. Two new versions of this spirit have been released, and they couldn’t provide a more telling contrast.
The twenty-five-year-old exudes wispy smoke. On the palate there is a surprising, zesty note of grapefruit and melon and a dash of spice from the wood, followed by a more typical peat finish. The ultra-rare twenty-seven-year-old, however, is a swarthy, brooding beast. Bottled at cask strength, its pruney, dark-berried sherry notes are much in evidence, and on the palate a weighty, red-berry flavor battles with the peat before the longest of long finishes rounds everything off. It’s hard to believe that these two beauties, only two years apart in age, were born from the same family. They represent two extremes, but they’re both a credit to the distillery.
If You Go
Islay is best known for the Machrie (011-44/1496-302-310, machrie.com), a challenging traditional links course.
The Harbour Inn (011-44/1496-810-330, harbour-inn.com) in Bowmore is well placed in the center of the island, and the self-catering Bowmore Cottages (011-44/1415-589-011, bowmore.co.uk), owned by the distillery of the same name, have recently been renovated and offer home comfort and great value.
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