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The color is medium gold, just about as richly golden as Glenlivet, which surprises me, since my researches told me to expect a light color. The body does not appear to be very substantial in the glass.
The phenolic iodine scent is heavy on the nose, but unlike Ardbeg 10 (the only other Islay I have tasted), there's a hint of lemongrass and other citrus notes in the background, together with plain grass and cellulose.
On the tongue, the same heavy phenolic disinfectant is prominent, and there's a subtle and sweet fruitiness in the background. It also has a distinctly savory character on the tongue, with salt, fish sauce, soy sauce, and a hint of vinegar. After further tasting, I detect a faint soapiness; if it's like soap, then it's one of those bars of odd, rough-cut, phenolic soaps you find in foreign lands.
It turns more sweet with water, and though I'm finding it hard to define the sweetness, it's not plain refined sugar, and certainly not saccharine.
My dad, a former missionary, was at my home tasting it with me and compared it to the smell of a Congolese hospital. So if the run-down, no-electricity, third-world hospital aroma is your thing, Laphroaig is for you. He said the associations were too negative for him. He has a point: I think I even pick up the scent of sterile bandages.
I've heard people call this the mother of all peat bombs, but to me the overall impression is more refined and pleasant than Ardbeg 10.