G4. The new world order. Forget the G7. For those truly interested in understanding the new shining path to global harmony in governance, concentration of intellectual and financial wealth and suppression of Irish attempts at gaining traction in the distillation race, look no further. Illuminati-like in their spheres of silence (but also, probably, in their spheres of influence), this clandestine collective holds meetings in an underground lair, impervious to outsiders (and direct sunlight), but well-stocked in survivalist essentials (ahem…mature single malt, that is).
The Gang of Four, or G4, has maybe slightly different aspirations than the G7. Well…most members, anyway. One dodgy representative of a Celtic island nation may be more inclined to lead the next global revolution than others, but for the most part all intentions are not only benevolent, but altruistic. All I’ll add to that is ‘never trust a Leprechaun’, especially one with a long memory and the means to an end.
Though the role of the G4 – much like the G7 – remains somewhat controversial and shrouded in secrecy, unsubstantiated rumours persist that member nations may be involved in directly or indirectly funding the IMF (International Malt Federation), subsidizing small revolutionary, tobacco-growing islands, and contributing to the preservation of cultural relevance in the land of the unicorn. Further, and perhaps more conspiratorial in nature, it is said they are looking to initiate a global cultural renaissance centered around ritual consumption of the blood of Scotland.
The G4, in recent years, has become a slightly amorphous entity. One ‘member nation’ transitioned its governing office to warmer western climes, so unfortunately now is rarely able to attend G4 meetings. The remaining three entities have subsequently enacted a policy of inclusion, which allows for smaller developing nations to attend summits and share their voices, if not, in point of fact, paying in proper G4 dues.
The agenda for December’s meeting – as much as can be shared in the public sector anyway – was management of natural resources in the Hebrides. Namely, decaying vegetative matter, barley crops and fresh water lochs. Representation for this meeting was expanded to include subject matter experts from Scotland, the Ukraine and France, whose relevant experience in the field was deemed pertinent to the discussion at hand. Perhaps it would be apropos to mention here that asset management in the Hebrides is of paramount importance to the continued existence of the G4. In fact, several attendees happen to be lairds of parcels of fertile land in the vicinity of the Kildalton region.
The following ‘minutes’ were recorded during said December council meeting. Portions have been excised, censored, redacted and sanitized for public consumption. Notes are largely my own, with input, collusion and validation from G4 delegates. Fault me for any notable shortcomings; credit them for honesty (to a fault) and artistic flair. A note to attending delegates: feel free to share further thoughts below if you see fit, as I didn’t collect notes for all.
Thanks to host nations, Ireland and England (with a bit of Scotland) for procurement and dissemination of sample materials.
Laphroaig 10 y.o. (2008) 40% abv – Fruitier than the newer 10s. Medicinal. Iodine. Citrus. Orange. Vanilla. Salty. Caramel. Licorice. Peat. Oaky. Salty. Salt and pepper. Industrial.
Laphroaig 15 y.o. 200th Anniversary (2015) 43% abv – Fruity. Orange. Doughy. Peat. Salty pastry. Damp earth. Green ju-jubes. Chilis. Peppers. Licorice. Tarry. Oakier. Sen sens. Slightly bitter. Medicinal.
Laphroaig Cairdeas 200th Anniversary (2015) 51.5% abv – More old school. Farmy. Cereal. Peat and smoke. Vanilla. Dry smoke. Black licorice. Leather. Orange. Licorice on the palate. Chilis. Mint. Black ju-jubes. Grains. Grassy. Herbal. Long finish.
Laphroaig 18 y.o. (2009) 48% abv – Fruity. Orange. Citrus. Farmy and earthy. Chocolate. Anise. Iodine. Peat. Oak. Pepper. Lime zest.
Laphroaig 25 y.o. (2008) 50.9% abv – Roman nougat. Soft peat. Lime. Pepper. Melon. Chewy candies. Orange. Chocolate. Rubber. Licorice. Juicy. Mouthwatering. Creamy. Sour fruits. Spice. Anise. Lots of licorice.
Laphroaig 30 y.o. (2007) 43% abv – A real fruit bomb. Tropical. Pineapple. Latex. Caramel. Peat is very faint. Red and orange ju-jubes. Very sweet. All fruits. Faintest anise. Chewy. Mouthwatering. Vanilla. Sweet chewy fruits. Chocolate (white and milk).
Laphroaig 40 y.o. (2001) 42.4% abv – Another fruit bomb. Referred to as ‘Hiroshima of fruit bombs’. Orange and tangerine. Grilled pineapple. Cherry. Spice. Everything is faint and very stunning. Very dessert-like. Fruit salad delivery. Creamy. More spice on the palate. Custard. Slightly oaky. Peat. Smoke. Eucalyptus. All are echoes.
Laphroaig 32 y.o. (2015) 46.6% abv – Massively fruity. Jammy. Cinnamon. Tobacco. Peat is lively for 32 years. Earthy. Licorice. Oily. Leathery. Peat. Grapefruit pith. Spice-heavy. Licorice on the palate too. And cinnamon again. Rubber and tar.
Laphroaig 27 y.o. (2007) 57.4% abv – A sherry bomb. Orange and orange zest. Jam. Cherry. Raspberry. Chocolate. Dark stone fruit. Mint. Heavily-oiled leather. Very faint peat. Licorice. Hoisin. Very savoury. More chocolate on the palate. Spice. Dried fruit. Christmas cake. Coffee. Dark chocolate. Figgy. Oily. More licorice on the palate.
– Images & words: Curt