NOW THAT’S THE deep magic. Burnished butterscotch color and bottled at 48% ABV. Bouquet opens with spring flowers and heather, but the first close (and lingering) aroma is of paint’s heady fumes, perhaps the thinner more than the paint itself. Then pepper, nickel, and an earthy tone like clay (Laphroaig themselves say ‘gorse’). Tide of peat upon entry to the palate, powerfully smoky, which quickly erupts into a crackle of char and roasted malt. As with chili powder, it can cause a cough if one inhales too quickly after sipping. Settles into the palate like embers of an ancient fire, drying, allowing some sweetness of cereal just peering through towards the finish. Several drops of water open up its aroma powerfully and leave its key flavors intact, but allows the background sweetness of the finish to assert itself a little more over the initial potent burn.