Chris KelleyThe Drink: Laphroaig 10-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch

The Comic: The Flash #26 published by DC Comics

The Whiskey
In the early 1800’s, brothers Donald and Alexander Johnston bought 1000 acres of land to raise cattle. In order to keep the cattle well fed during the long winter months, they had to produce feed barley. The leftover barley was then used to distill whiskey illegally. Word started to spread around that the boys were making some pretty good whiskey which caught the attention of the authorities. To avoid any trouble with the law, the brothers established Johnston & Johnston in 1815 and Laphroaig was born. In 1836 Donald bought out Alexander and was now the sole owner of the distillery. Tragically, in 1847 Donald died by falling into a vat of the whiskey he loved so dearly. After Donald’s death, ownership of the distillery was passed around within the family.

Laphroaig had a neighbor less than a mile away that was once also owned by the Johnston family: Lagavulin. 1867 marked the year that the rivalry began between the two distilleries. There were huge debates over contracts, agency agreements and water rights that ended in court battles. It’s a very fascinating rivalry that went on for years until it finally ended in favor of Laphroaig. Lagavulin tried to copy the taste of Laphroaig through any means necessary including copying the stills, convincing the head distiller to work for them, being located right next door and using the same water source. None of the attempts were successful. To this day it is still a mystery as to why they were never able to copy the distinct, smoky flavor of Laphroaig whiskey.

Ian Hunter, the last owner who was a blood relative of the Johnstons was instrumental in Laphroaig going international. By 1923 Ian had doubled the distilleries capacity. He had also pioneered the use of American oak bourbon barrels for aging. Ian Hunter was very protective of the families distilling secrets and extremely paranoid that they would get out. He never spoke to journalists and wouldn’t let photographers come on the property. There was one woman he trusted with the family secrets and that woman was Bessie Williamson. She was the daughter of Hunter’s accountant Willie. She got a job at the distillery one summer and never left. When Ian died in 1954, he left the distillery to Bessie. She became one of the first women distillers and owners in history. Eventually, the distillery was sold to the Beam Company who still owns it to this day.

The Laphroaig 10 Year Single Malt Scotch has to be my absolute favorite scotch. It has a lovely golden color. It has an earthy, smoky nose to it with a hint of salt. It has a very peaty, smoky flavor followed by a hint of sweetness like vanilla or caramel. The finish is long and strong with lingering smoke. It’s like drinking a campfire and I absolutely love it! It is definitely not for someone who is new to scotch. The peat and smoke can be a bit much for some people. This bottle will set you back anywhere between $60-$70 and it is definitely worth it. This is the bottle of scotch you keep for a while, only drinking on special occasions.

The Comic
Jay Garrick. Barry Allen. Wally West. THE FLASH!! Everyone has a favorite Flash. I, on the other hand, just love the character. When I got back into comics about 5 years ago, The Flash was the first book I got caught up on. I got on Amazon and hunted down all of the Geoff John’s trades and blew through them in no time. I’ve been hooked ever since. I started to pick the title up on a monthly basis right after The Flash: Rebirth miniseries. Sure there have been some story arcs that I didn’t care about and even those that I can’t remember at all (not a good sign), but I kept with it.

The previous run on the book by the amazing duo of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato was an enjoyable journey of innovative and original visual storytelling. With this issue, Christos Gage, Neil Googe and Will Quintana get back to basics.There is no huge overarching story going on here, no global threat, not even villains bringing the world to it’s knees. There is nothing really original here at all. It is a very formulaic, predictable and I absolutely loved it. It was a huge breath of fresh air!

The issue opens with The Flash chasing after an airplane while being shot at by our villain, Spitfire. We also get to see The Flash in a very unusual and unfamiliar territory for The Fastest Man Alive; the sky! Spitfire has stolen some very deadly and very dangerous items from a local science lab and The Flash has set out to stop her from releasing them upon the city. That’s pretty much the entire story right there. As you can guess, Spitfire never does get to enact her evil plan because The Flash saves the day. The art here is nothing to write home about, but definitely does the job. Googe does a fine job of showing off The Flash and his speed powers. Again, nothing spectacular, but still enjoyable. This was a fun, back to basics standalone superhero story. The kind you don’t really see anymore.

The Flash has been on my pull file for years now. It would be weird to not read it on a monthly basis. The new ongoing creative team comes on board in April. Looking at who’s doing the interior art, I may have to say goodbye to The Flash.

Thanks for reading,
Christopher Kelley

Chris Kelley is Matt Baum’s cousin. We try not to hold that against him.