For the life of me I cannot understand the bad rap Laphroaig has received. People recite “love it or hate it” almost as a mantra, and yet I find Laphroaig to be more accessible than either Lagavulin or Ardbeg. The nose and palate are peaty but less so than Lagavulin. The mouthfeel is slick and oily. The palate is full of restrained sweet notes (maybe a smoked honey glaze?), seaweed, iodine, and salt. Deep but cushiony, like sinking into an overstuffed chair. Medicinal, especially in the finish, but with charming floral notes slowly floating up and infusing the flavor. Late into the finish peat, oak casks, cork, and iodine remain with a dry salty feeling to the mouth. Not as big a kick as its younger brother, the 10 year old (also a fine malt.) Very smooth and well-integrated. Delicious and (the masses be damned!) quite accessible; this would be my second choice, after the Hart Brothers Port Ellen (below), to introduce a newcomer to south shore Islays. A great standby.