‘How do you pronounce Laphroaig?’I asked R, pointing at the name on the whisky list. We both pondered. Laphroaig is not the sort of name that an English speaker can easily pronounce.
‘La…’ began R.
‘I agree with you so far. Definitely La. But La-what?’ I considered several different pronunciations, none of which sounded likely. ‘Hang on, it says here.’ I had discovered some help on the back of the container. Laphroaig know that their name is a hard one to pronounce, so they give some phonetic help.
‘La-froyg,’ I said, which wasn’t one of the options I’d spotted in that collection of letters. ‘It’s pronounced La-froyg.’
‘It means ‘the beautiful hollow by the broad bay’, I continued.
‘That’s a lot of meaning to cram into such a short word.’
R poured out some whisky into our glasses and we studied the golden liquid.
I nodded, still thinking about the name. The beautiful hollow by the broad bay…It really does conjure up an image that all visitors to the Scottish coast will have seen. Just the name is a call to reminisce about your trip to Scotland. You can see why they used the expressive Gaelic. I read a description of the whisky from the menu as we considered our drams. What I read didn’t fill me with delight.
‘I won’t tell you what it says about the nose,’ I said, as R raised her glass and sniffed.
‘I think it smells of…’ she paused.
‘I won’t say as it will put you off.’
‘The things they mention aren’t what you’d expect. What can you smell?’
She raised the glass to her nose again. ‘Iodine,’ she said.
‘Very good! That’s what it mentions. What about an overtone of seaweed? Do you get that?’
We both sniffed our glasses.
‘Smoke. It’s very smoky.’
‘We should be getting the ‘delicate, heathery perfume of Ilay’s streams.,’ I read from the back of the container.
We sniffed our glasses again. R shook her head. We tasted the whisky and let it roll around our tongues.
That we could agree on.
‘Earthy. Like drinking Scotland.’
‘Fire and charcoal? I don’t think it’s a beginner’s whisky,’ I commented.
‘I’m not a beginner,’ said R. ‘The peatiness really comes out at the back of the throat.’
‘The taste I like. The nose I have to work on. It’s an acquired nose. I’ll get there though.’ I didn’t use to like Guinness, but sheer effort and perseverance made me no longer shrink from ordering a pint of the black stuff. It’s amazing what will-power can do.
‘It’s Islay in a bottle.’
‘Now to try it with a touch of water!
And we settled down to enjoy our new Scottish acquaintance.
Enjoy whisky responsibly!
I sometimes go to my sons bowling club and the members say laphroaig tastes like mouthwash I say they have no class and they don’t know what malt whisky is all about