That distinctive “iodine” taste, like you’re sucking on a Band-Aid? That’s peat, and Laphoaig Scotch—a single malt produced in small-ish batches on the tiny island of Islay—is crammed full of the stuff, giving it its long, dry, but-not-acidic smoke. As such, Laphroaig is a challenging spirit, one as loved by some as it is loathed by others. So what is peat? It’s partially decayed vegetation matter with the consistency of clay that’s harvested as fuel in certain parts of the world. At Laphroaig, they smoke their barley with it for a long, long time, earning the title “the world’s most richly flavored Scotch Whisky.” A few years back, the stuff was hard to find in the city, but it’s catching on at new and old places alike. Here’s a handy guide, including cheaper and more expensive options.
1516 Sansom St.
Cheaper option: Dewars, $6.
For the baller in your party: He’ll have to take his funny money elsewhere. Most single malts at Nodding Head average around $8.80.
1513 Sansom St.
Cost: 10-year, $12; Quarter Cask, $13.
Cheaper option: Glenlivet Nadurra 16-year, $6.
For the baller: Ardbeg 1990 Vintage, $24.
This swanky jazz lounge has two bars stocked with Laphroaig. Just don’t drink so much that you become a nuisance to doorman Rob, who will crush you!
33 S. Third St.
Cheaper option: Jack Daniels, $5.49.
For the baller: Aberlour, $9.99.
Known for their extensive beer list, we were surprised they carried Laphroaig, but happy all the same.
2331 E. Cumberland St.
Cheaper option: Glenlivet, $6.
For the baller: Alberta Springs 10-Year, $12.
Cheapest Laphroaig we found. Love this place.
48 S. Second St.
Cheaper option: Dewars, $6.50
For the baller: Balvenie 15-year, $14.
Self-described as “your fathers bar,” Sassafras is wise from its 35 years and boasts an impressive list of single malts.
118 S. 20th St.
Cost: 10-year, $14; 18-year, $26; 30-year, $60.
Cheaper option: *cough* Laphroaig 10-year, $14.
For the baller: We’ll spare you the tears.
The restaurant has an extensive whiskey list (duh), and has nearly every type of Laphroaig the distillery makes. They don’t have the 40-year though, which might be a good thing. That shit will make you hallucinate.
118 S. 16th St.
Cost: 10-year, $10.
Cheaper option: Dewars, $8.
At cozy and dimly lit Happy Rooster, you can order your scotch and drink it in one of the plush leather booths with a touch of sophistication. (Rachel Stumpo)