Laphroaig Distillery

Region: Islay Scotland, PA47 7DU

Founded: 1815

Status: Active

Owner: Beam/Suntory

Water source: The Kilbride Dam

Mash tun: Stainless steel full Lauter

Washbacks: 6x Stainless steel

Stills: 3x Wash 4x Spirit

Capacity: 3.3 million litres per annum


The Laphroaig distillery was established in 1815 by Donald and Alexander Johnston.[4] The Johnstons who founded Laphroaig were from the Clan Donald and are likely to be from the MacIain of Ardnamurchan branch of the clan. The family anglicized their name to Johnston.[4] The last member of the Johnston family to run the distillery was Ian Hunter, a nephew of Sandy Johnston, who died childless in 1954 and left the distillery to one of his managers, Bessie Williamson. The distillery was sold to Long John International in the 1960s, and subsequently became part of Allied Domecq.[5] The brand was in turn acquired by Fortune Brands in 2005, as one of the brands divested by Pernod Ricard in order to obtain regulatory approval for its takeover of Allied Domecq. Fortune Brands then split up its business product lines in 2011, forming its spirits business into Beam Inc. Beam was then purchased by Suntory Holdings in April 2014. Laphroaig has been the only whisky to carry the Royal Warrant of the Prince of Wales, which was awarded in person during a visit to the distillery in 1994. The 15-year-old was reportedly the prince’s favourite Scotch whisky.




Our Visit:  25th April 2014 WOLS Islay Trip 2014


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Laphroaig Whisky Reviews:

  • laphroaig-10-year-old-cask-strength-batch-008-whisky Laphroaig 10 Years Old Cask Strength Batch 008 (59.2%, OB, 2016) - A great combination of fierce spirit and equally sturdy oak wood cask influences - borders on bourbon in places makes for a superb balance and brings out some oddly fruity suggestions on the palate - I love this stuff and it's preceeding reputation is very well deserved. 89/100
  • Laphroaig 12 Year Old Cask Strength The Bass Lockett Bros Laphroaig 12 Year Old 1996/2009 Bass (58.6%, Lockett Bros, Bourbon HH #7288, 276 bottles) - Laphroaig's no-nonsense intense peaty style actually lends itself rather well to cask strength whisky. I don't know if the quoted 40ppm phenolics just subtly blend into what I think of as the stereotypical Laphroaig taste or if their distillation process and maturation removes the halogenated [chloro-phenol] most medicinal/TCP-esque nasal offenders? Either way this one seriously warms the cockles! 89/100
  • Laphroaig 14yo OMC Laphroaig 14 Years Old 2000/2014 (50%, Hunter Laing, Old Malt Cask,, Sherry Butt #10432, 731 Bottles) - A lot of strong flavours in this sherry-influenced Laphroaig. This one stays on the sweet side of becoming bitter with plenty of savoury elements redolent of bbq and char-cooking. A great winter / fire-side or even Christmas Dram! One to keep you warm on a cold night. 86/100
  • Laphroaig 15 Years Old 1998/2013 (61.9%, Douglas Laing, Cask #9877) - A classic ex-bourbon/American oak matured Laphroaig, old enough to have imbued a healthy dose of vanillins which complement that sweet peaty smoke that so reminds me of peanut and satay sauce on meat - what I just love about Laphroaig. Again another sample I would hope is bottled soon! 89/100
  • Laphroaig 15 Years Old 1998 Unchillfiltered Laphroaig 15 Years Old 1998/2014 (46%, Signatory, UCF, Refill Sherry Butt #700385, 839 Bottles) - An interesting mix of real creamy and gently fruity ice cream flavours with a dash of salt and plenty of thick peat smoke. Somehow this combination really works for me and is verging on a heavily peated session dram though I suspect either sickly sweetness or more likely peat reek would take over before too long. Enjoyed it while it lasted. 85/100
  • laphroaig-15-year-old-200th-anniversary-edition-whisky Laphroaig 15 Years Old 200th Anniversary Edition (43%, OB, 2015) - Beautiful expression, lots going on in here alongwith the salt and peat influences, such power in this really brought to mind a dark cherry liqueur. 88/100
  • laphroaig-18-year-old-whisky Laphroaig 18 Years Old (48%, OB, 2014) - A beautiful whisky from Laphroaig that really tames that fiery powerful peaty character into something sublime. A really delicious dram that reveals sweet woody bourbon character married perfectly with gentle peat and clean iodine. I could drink this all day. 88/100
  • Scotch Malt Whisky Society Laphroaig 18 Years Old 1995/2014 (59.2%, SMWS, 29.150 Hand rolled Cuban cigars, 197 Bottles) - no tasting notes. 89/100
  • laphroaig-21-year-old Laphroaig 21 Years Old 200 Years of Laphroaig Limited Edition (48.5%, OB, 2015) - Rather un-Laphroaig like, this is old and reserved, very sweet with plenty of vanilla, more so than the presence of any wood or peat influence here. I have question-marked this as a classic the biggest influence is its first-fill bourbon maturation and the age has really mellowed the peat influence out. This was also slightly acrid in places. 88/100
  • Laphroaig 22 Years Old 1991/2014 (49.8%, Cadenheads, Authentic collection, Bourbon HH, 168 Bottles) - Drool, welcome to whisky heaven, definitely one for those who love peat but there was no harshness of TCP/germolene or smoke for that matter. This was really just an earthy peatiness covered in thick layers of vanilla custard, and everyone loves custard – right? 89/100
  • Laphroaig 30 Years Old Cairdeas (43%, OB, 1,536 Bottles, 2008) - Wow, what a dram! Usually in older whisky I find the peat influence mellowed and a lot of wood influence, this one appears to have been slightly rejuvenated by the second maturation allowing the peat to burst out in an array of flavours. The nuttiness is also there but in a variety of guises and the herbal woody notes just seem to really work with everything else going on. I just wish I had so much more of this one... 92/100
  • Laphroaig An Cuan Mor (48%, OB, Friends of Laphroaig, 2013) - The subtlety and smoothness of the finish, the complexity of this in the mouth and the fire with which it starts combine to make this a pretty spectacular dram. I haven't tasted a Laphroaig that packs in so much, yet finishes so smoothly. 90/100
  • laphroaig-cairdeas-2015-200th-anniversary-edition-whisky Laphroaig Cairdeas 200th Anniversary Edition (51.5%, OB, 2015) - A very nice creamy and easy drinking Laphroaig with plenty of peaty character. I guess this is a success as it sets out to achieve exactly what they wanted from it. Made for drinking I'd say! 88/100
  • laphroaig-cairdeas-origin-2012-edition-whisky Laphroaig Cairdeas Origin (51.2%, OB, Friends of Laphroaig, 2012) - This 2012 Cairdeas is now only available at auction and I imagine the price per bottle may have doubled at least, I have heard that this essentially is a souped-up version of the standard Quarter Cask expression from Laphroaig so I expect I will seek this expression out before too long. I will continue to purchase the future Cairdeas bottlings as they represent both great quality and value as well as a little more unusual expressions from one of my favourite distilleries. 88/100
  • laphroaig-cairdeas-port-wood-edition-2013-whisky Laphroaig Cairdeas Port wood edition (51.3%, OB, Friends Of Laphroaig, 2013) - On the face of this one I would strongly recommend a port finish Laphroaig could easily make its way into their standard range even at a tamer non cask strength, however I wouldn't want to take anything away from the shine of this bottle. This is my current go to bottle when I either want a kick in the tastebuds or have several hours to sit and mull purely over a single dram. 90/100
  • laphroaig-quarter-cask-whisky Laphroaig Quarter Cask (48%, OB, +/-2015) - Presenting that Laphroaig signature peaty peanut flavour, though a little less sweet and a lot less harsh than the 10 Year Old. This toning down in palate made it much more drinkable / easy drinking, but then I don’t drink Laphroaig to feel ‘safe’… 82/100
  • laphroaig-triple-wood Laphroaig Triple Wood (48%, OB, 2013) - The Laphroaig triple wood was OK, it is slightly salty and reasonably peaty but the sherry finish feels a little like an afterthought and was not well-controlled or integrated into the whisky. 82/100