Laphroaig Cask Strength - batch 007 - 112.6°
Nose: exactly that chalky type of paint/finger-paint you used to use in preschool/kindergarten. Calcium salts, petrified dill weed. A bit of umami wakame.
I expected more iodine and bandage, as well as peat smoke, but the manifestation @ higher proof is markedly different than the standard 10yr.
As it opens, s dry fireplace ash, then still-cooking applesauce. It's surprisingly inviting, like your austere cabin home in Islay. Inviting for a high-proof! It's still unmistakably robust (manly) though.
Taste: the first sips is brimstone! White fire breathed by Smaug! Creosote and a mixed-wood open fire next to a small, rusted iron coal stove... on a goat farm. The burn is quick and clean, passionate and intense, yet direct and "calculated." It's rapacious.
What is most striking once you're past the initial heat of the proof is the impressive and assertive minerality. This isn't just salt (NaCl-): it's calcium, magnesium, lime, and different carbonates, as well as sulfates. The palate is crisp and woody, but somehow buttery and dry, like both a young and a wood-aged Chardonnay or Chablis. And yet, the minerals give it such a fullness, along with just enough wood tannin to create a complete (and intense), somehow "refreshing" experience.
The malt sweetness is almost entirely hidden behind savory, medicinal, and umami sensations; it IS there, but you really have to seek it out.
Finish: the finish is just like sweeping up the ashes of the raging ember spirit that burned down your cottage and adjacent family farm. It's more of the same from the nose and taste, building character in you, and telling you to squelch your tears without apology, but in a relaxed, understanding, and abiding tone of voice.
Water almost completely tames this animal... at least just bringing it towards the level of domestication in the standard 10yr, with the bandages, iodine, and heather being more noticeable. Still, the dilution, sadly, detracts from the magnificent display of mineral composition... like shaving the mane off from the alpha of a pride of lions.
This is a deep, stern, and experienced drink. A man's drink, not for any puff. But it has stores to tell that you could listen to all night, if you are the type to bare it. 4.7/5.