Last night we were invited to an event in Fort Worth at Lonesome Dove located in the historic Stockyards. The celebration was for the Friends of Laphroaig, a group dedicated to a special scotch whisky hailing from Loch Laphroaig on the south coast of the Isle of Islay in Scotland.
The evening started off as most scotch tastings might, a dram of their 10-year old was passed freely in the crowd and a lot of back and forth with devotees of the brand with the master ambassador, Simon Brooking and distiller John Campbell. Both gentlemen were proud of the whiskys and spoke freely about the process of creating a cask.
But in addition to the dram, each guest was encouraged to grab a kilt and don the Scotch-wear for the duration of the event. This elevated the evening to a different spire and you could almost notice a transformation of the guests, even down to their accents.
The group of Friends swelled as the even went on, with Laphroaig eventually hosting at least 50 guests in the back room at Lonesome Dove.
While chef Tim Love’s staff were busily roasting a whole pig outside for dinner, guests were treated to line dances instructed by a visitor from Billy Bobs. It was quite a sight to see men and women in cowboy boots, wearing their kilts, dancing the cotton-eyed Joe.
As for the scotch itself, if you have never had a chance to taste the spirit, it is bold and often referred to as a peat-monster. On first taste you will be blown away by the powerful peatiness, but allowing the flavors to linger you will soon discover the softer side of the scotch. Detectable vanillas, sweet fruits and salty backsplash of seaweed.
The scotch is one of the finer single malts available and for this the distiller is rewarded with selling every bottle that can be imported into the United States. The Laphroaig Cairdeas limited edition is so rare that you can literally not find a bottle for sale in Texas, even though its price point is relatively easy on the pocketbook at $60 retail.
Finding a 10-year is much simpler and affords the most flavor of peat than any in the line.
The Quarter Cask has heightened characteristics with less burn and more intense sub-notes. The peat is still present, but toned down through the their barrel process. The flavors of creamy caramel come to mind and by far one of the most enjoyable of the line. The name comes from the second aging in quarter-sized casks which allows more contact with wood.
Events such as this from Laphroaig are not as rare as some of their whisky. By signing up online you can find other complimentary perks including free land. Each Friend receives a small parcel of land that is leased back to the distillery for the price of a dram a year paid to the Friend upon each visit to Scotland.