Re: One more head to head
I have bottles of both open now. It's funny, when I first tried them I thought I preferred Bowmore. To my palate, it has more of a warm, almost meaty smoke flavour (like a smoking hut), whereas the Laphroaig has more of a cold, ashy smoke flavour. Like the difference between smoke coming off an open fire and smokey remanants of the same fire the next day.
But I noticed two things. First, as time went on, I noticed more and more complexities in the Laphroaig, sweet notes, but also salty notes. There is a bunch more happening in there. In Bowmore, I notice nothing more than what I initially found, which is pleasant.
Second, I noticed that if I decide to have a night where I have several different drams, that Bowmore simply doesn't hold up if it is tasted after other whiskies. If I have it first, it's nice. But if I have it after something else, it tastes quite characterless (I have observed this phenomenon tasting Bowmore after Bunahabbhain 18, Balvenie DW, Caol Ila 12, Highland Park 12, Ardbeg 10, and indeed Laphroaig 10). Laphroaig, on the other hand, keeps its character, and holds up.
All that to say, I think they're both nice, but rate Laphroaig 10 much higher.