And as expected, the 10 year old did not disappoint. It has that perfect balance of peat, smoke and spice that sets it apart from the other Islay malts. After having sampled a range of the Islay regulars, I can safely say that only the PX Cask has offered an experience better than the 10 year old.
Though it goes against the 'recommended' procedure for enjoying malts, I have found it difficult to sip a malt in the heat of Gurgaon without turning to an ice-cube or two. Still, I would recommend having the 10 year old as straight as possible, with only the mildest addition of water- if that. Let the drink sit in the glass for a while, which should let some of its initial 'heat' to subside. With a drop or two of water, you can have a brilliant evening with a great Islay malt.
The reaction of malt beginners to this expression is mixed. I have found some take up to the smokiness instantly, while others are unable to digest the medicinal, raw taste. To me, as I began experiencing single malts, the smoke and iodine of Laphroaig allowed me to characterize single malts for the first time. Even now, the peaty Laphroaig 10 year old is iconic of single malt scotch in my mind.
smoke, wood, salt
seaweed, peat, spice
40% ABV (though I've come across 43% as well)