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After years of neglect BILL WATT returns to a favourite Islay whisky ... and he isn't disappointed.

Until a few weeks ago I hadn't bought a bottle of Laphroaig (pronounced la-froyg) whisky for years. It's weird actually. It's always been a favourite.

It was one of the great whiskies that drew me to the Scottish island of Islay three years ago. Our visit there was brilliant and the Laphroaig distillery tour was a fabulous experience (See ).

And, I have fond, if slightly hazy memories, of revelling in stunningly cheap Laphroaig shots during a trip to Canada a while back. That adventure ended with a worryingly close encounter with a herd of caribou as I tried to find my way back to my accommodation near Jasper.

But, the vast array of untried whisky temptations (yes, I'm a sucker for an artistic label/bottle) meant I had cruelly overlooked this whisky classic for far too long.

I'm not proud to say it, but what dragged me back to my senses was a simple marketing tool ... a bottle of 10-year-old Laphroaig in a snazzy box with two lovely little whisky glasses, all for under $100. I was sold!

So, to the important part ... is this whisky as good as I remember? You can bet your bloody bottom dollar that it is!

Laphroaig's Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky - Aged 10 Years, is simply a beautiful drop. As the distiller's website describes, it is "made from malted barley which is first cold-smoked and then dried over a peat fire" in Islay (pronounced "eye-la", by the way).

The nose (aroma) is surprisingly fruity despite the smoky and medicinal edge for which it is famous.

The first taste of Laphroaig is like an explosion of sensations in the mouth. It is so complex! Smokey, peaty, medicinal, seaweed/salty, fruity with a subtle sweetness. And, the sensation doesn't end when it has been swallowed. It stays with you ... in a comforting fashion.

Yep, this is one of the best drams you can get. You can rest assured it won't be long until another bottle finds its way to my place.

Footnote: At 40% alcohol, Laphroaig 10-year-old is like any whisky, a potent brew. Drink wisely and avoid caribou!

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