This my first blog post ever. What an event...
My Laphroaig experience at Rustic Root in San Diego.
(while I drink my coffee)
I may or may not have gotten really drunk.
Spoiler alert: I was shitfaced.
The tasting event was held at Rustic Root in San Diego on Monday, April 23rd 2018.
I was really looking forward to this event as Laphroaig 10 has been my favorite whiskey for a long time. For just $20 we're going to try 5 different Laphroaig varieties, plus I was told there will be some food served as well. I bought a ticket for my friend Mike who's brand new to whiskey and peat virgin, so this can get interesting.
We arrive early and are told to go up the stairs to get to the roof top lounge, it's smaller than I expect but it's a really nice area. Mike and I are the first ones to arrive and we were told that the first 50 people get a swag bag...sweet! So since I'm first in line, they give me my wristband and a drink ticket...bonus score, the drink ticket gets you a full sized cocktail after the tastings.
Inside the Laphroaig canvas tote bag is a green rocks glass, some 3D viewer thing and a leather tasting notebook. Awesome because I've been looking to buy one but didn't want to pay $20 for one! Mike says I can have his as well...can't be mad at yet another bonus score. We're only 3 minutes past 6pm and I'm already enjoying myself.
We were both hungry already and about to order some food but there server suggested we wait for the food that will be coming around during the tasting since it's included with the ticket price.
So I turn on my podcast app to start recording the event. I wanted to give my tastings notes and experience while also getting honest reaction from Mike. Any peat head knows...Laphroaig 10 is a love or hate experience.
Now that we're recording and introductions are out of the way we start with Select. I've had this one before so I know it's nothing great and I have always felt it's more of a cash grab than anything else Laphroaig puts out. Mike says it smells light, takes the whole drink in one gulp. I explained next time he should take smaller sips to try to pick up different tasting notes on each sip. They're serving out of plastic shot glasses so the amount is deceiving. There's plenty in there to enjoy multiple sips.
The next drink is the old faithful, 10 year old single malt. The moment of truth is about to happen already. Will Mike's world be opened up to the magic of Islay or will he want to punch me for hitting him with this aggression? He notices right away the different in color and smell. There's a lot more going on with this one. He takes a small sip....he doesn't hate it. Not sure what he's tasting yet, but he kind of likes it. I suggest to coat his whole mouth to see if he picks up different flavors....that he didn't like. Oh look...food....the servers shows a plate that had mini spring rolls (I mean mini...like half a pinky length) but there's just one left. Mike asks if I want it, but I let him have it. I'll grab them when she comes around again. Mike then gives me the rest of his 10 because he's driving.
We move on to the Quarter Cask....we're getting higher into the alcohol proof now..This is another one I have and I don't think it's as good as the 10. Mike agrees that the 10 was better...this had too much of an alcohol bite for him. We then add a splash of water to taste the difference. He likes it better this way, but still prefers the 10. He then gives me the rest of his drink. Finally, food comes around again, this time 2 spring rolls left, so we each have 1.
We're kind of throwing these down pretty fast as it's only about 30-40 minutes in to the event.
Mike is talking to someone, he introduces me (I'll keep his name out in case he wants to remain anonymous) and the person tells me that we're in a FB group together and it was my post that let him know about the event. Cool! He then tells me what he does...which he owns a whiskey website, does interviews and tours and the like. After speaking for a bit he says maybe we can callabo. Perfect! Let's link up some time....I'm still doing the live podcast so I start giving my notes to the radio broadcast. Mike says I'm yelling, I remind him that I'm a New Yorker and this is just how we talk.
We are now about to try one I've never had: The 10 year old, Cask Strength. This one comes in at a whopping 58.1% alcohol. The nose definitely lets you know it's high proof. I take a sip and get that alcohol punch you'd expect, but nothing else. So I try it again...still can't get much past the burn so I add water. Still burns, but better....so I add more water...still must be high proof because I still get some burn, but it's way better now. I'm getting the smoke that you expect from Laphroaig....now is it due to too many too quickly and without a palate cleanser, I don't know, but I still say regular 10 is superior.
Mike didn't like the strong alcohol taste from this one so he gave me his as well.
Sidenote: This was suppose to be Triple Wood but the distributors couldn't get it apparently.
At this point I'm starting to feel that buzz.
Before I speak about the one I was most excited about: Lore...let me say this.
I never drink to inebriation. I actually hate being drunk. I hate the feeling of fighting back from vomiting when you drink too much, I hate the hang over you get the next day, and the biggest reason I hate being drunk is because it takes away from the experience. I also really hate the time warps that happen. Those moments of time lapses that make no sense the next day. I was in good company, potentially making connections to help my brand, and instead the last part of the night is a blur to me. Did I make a fool of myself? Did I ruin potential relationships? I don't know.
On to Lore:
Lore also comes in at 48% so she's a strong one too. I'd have to revisit my podcast to remember my notes but I remember thinking...I wish I was having this by itself and not after 4 other drinks, I feel like my palate must be overloaded at this point. It was good, but not the hype I was expecting. It was still the 2nd best one for me tonight. Mike liked it as well, but he still thinks 10 was the best one he had. I remember looking around and seeing everyone with food, fancy sliders and spring rolls etc...and I was thinking to myself, where the hell did everyone get this food from? I want to eat.
We go back to conversing with our new acquaintances. The host then says he's bringing out a secret bottle! What what what??
he brings us out something that you can't get in the United States he tell us. OMG what is it??
I don't know what the proof is on this one, but it was head and shoulders the best one of the night and something truly special. Joe, the host, was trying to teach me how to pronounce it. Hopefully I got it on my audio recording because between being slightly inebriated and having a NY accent I was struggling to pronounce it correctly.
Going out to events like this is awesome because you get opportunities to have a drink you may never get to have again. Although, I will be hunting for this one for some time. It was a damn good dram, even after all the others....even in a plastic shot glass!
I then go to the bar to use my drink ticket. They made their own cocktail called The Land and Sea which used Laphroaig Select, sarsaparilla syrup and something else I can't remember. I'm sorry Rustic Root, but that was a horrible cocktail. It was insanely sweet (which I was hearing from everyone in attendance) and it completely hid the smoke of the Lphoroaig. I ended up finishing it to see if the sweetness would cleanse my palate a bit before I tried Lore once more.
I had another Lore and it was good, actually better than the first drink of Lore I had, but it's still #3 for the night. Cairdeas 15 being #1 and the standard 10 being my #2.
At this point the time warps begin. I don't remember walking back down the stairs to leave the building. Did I say bye to our new friends? Did I thank the host? Crap!
We're now at a pizza place...how far was it from Rustic Root? Damn time warps. I remember getting 2 slices, one buffalo and one bbq. Buffalo was good, BBQ was amazing. It seems like I inhaled them though. We're now in Mike's car...what kind of witch craft is this?? Is Mike a sorcerer?
I am really, really drunk at this point. There was a few times I told Mike to pull over. I thought I was going to hurl. After catching some fresh air the feeling went away, but at the same time it kind of feels like if I just threw up I'd feel much better. Mike's telling me that it's so weird "You don't even sound drunk, you're not even slurring your words." Pull over for the 3rd time now, no puking still. Time warp and we're at my house. God damn, I need to learn where these magical time portals are when I'm driving.
I say hi to my wife, she asks if I'm drunk, I say yes. She tells me go to bed, I say yep. Strip off my clothes and pass out with the quickness. Now surprisingly I woke up way earlier than usually with the motivation to write this post, and no hangover?? Wow...this is a magical journey!
I left my phone in Mike's car, so I can't listen top the audio from last night, but I really, really hope I saved the second half of the show. (You can only record one hour at a time so it was a 2 part recording) so you can experience with me from sober to drunk. I'd also like to hear how Joe pronounces Cairdeas.
My final thoughts:
Laphroaig makes amazing products (other than Select) and Joe was a great host. Rustic Root is a beautiful spot with a great rooftop lounge and nice ambiance. I'll have to come back. I had a great time before getting inebriated. I hope nobody holds this against me.
This morning I was reflecting about it. When I drink at home, I typically drink between 2-4 ounces total over the course of a night. Last night I had WAY more than that in just the first 45 minutes. A shot glass is 1 oz. Every one of these pours was .5 oz. So in just the first 4 drinks I had close to 4 ounces, with 2 of them being at a very high proof so it's close to drinking 6 oz. Then Lore (x2), Cairdeas, a cocktail....yea. I it was way too much alcohol, in too short of a time on an empty stomach. Lesson learned.
Full audio from the event can be found here *Audio Warning, it was a loud event*:
As a fan of scotch and other whiskeys I was tired of looking up reviews for new whiskeys that just oozed of snobbery. I wanted to create an outlet for average Joe's who don't have a sommelier palate. Born and raised in Long Island, New York, I moved to San Diego, California in 2010 with my wife. I'm also a fan of MMA, pro-wrestling, comic books, video games and strongman. All subjects are topic for discussion on the podcast.
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