If you’re a purist who loves a richly flavoured scotch whisky, then Laphroaig is for you.
Steeped in history and traditional methods, the Islay-based Laphroaig has earned a worldwide reputation for flavour. The correct pronunciation is Lah-FROYG which means ‘broad bay’ and it’s thought to be the name of a place on Islay’s east coast. On their website, Laphroaig claim to be the most richly flavoured Scotch whisky in the World. A bold claim, but does it live up to the hype?
Let's examine that claim more closely...
It’s the Method that Gives it the Rich Flavour
The richness may come from it being one of the last remaining distilleries to malt its barley. Or it could be the peat kilns, in use since 1840, that use a low temperature for the cold smoking process. The burning peat imbues the damp barley with the signature smoky, medicinal flavour.
The mash house is next. After milling, the husk and flour are turned into the stainless steel mash tun with hot water which dissolves the sugar. The sugary water known as wort is syphoned off to washbacks ready for turning into alcohol. The clear not cloudy wort is what gives Laphroaig its fruity notes. The fermentation process takes a minimum of 55 hours, so it has time to develop flavour compounds.
Next is the distillation process. The seven stills are made of copper for stripping the sulphuric flavour compounds out. The first distillation gives the liquid an alcohol content of 22%. The second distillation requires only the middle part or cut of the spirit to be kept. The first cut is made after 45 minutes which is the latest in the industry and the second cut is made once the alcohol content is down to 60% - testament to the skill of their Stillman. The late cutting gives Laphroaig its less sweet, more medicinal, tar and peaty flavours.
History of Laphroaig Distillery
A 200-year old history of traditional whisky-making stands behind the Laphroaig range of scotch whiskies.
Two farmers, Donald and Alexander Johnston founded the distillery on the island’s south coast in 1815, and it stayed in the family for the next 139 years. Using water from the Kilbride stream, hand-cut peat and floor malted barley, the tradition has been handed down since the distillery began.
In 1994 HRH Prince Charles visited the distillery for the first time and gave Laphroaig his coat of arms which are proudly carried on every bottle.
Your Guide to the Flavours of Laphroaig Scotch Whisky:
Laphroaig Single Malt 10 Year Old
Known as Laphroaig’s signature malt, it is sparkling gold in colour with a bold smoky taste that comes from drying malted barley over a peat fire. After the smoke comes a hint of seaweed with complex salt and peat layers. The rich palate continues with a lingering, dry finish. Take a look at the Laphroaig Single Malt 10 Year Old in our online store.
Laphroaig Single Malt 25 Year Old
Matured in Oloroso sherry casks and ex-American bourbon barrels, this is a marriage made in heaven. The sherry oak flavours mixed with creamy, smooth, sweet flavours of the bourbon barrels this is maturing at its best before bottling at cask strength. There is an initial burst of peat on the palate restrained by sherry before developing into spicy apple fruitiness. We stock the Laphroaig Single Malt 25 Year Old in our online bottle shop.
Laphroaig 27 Year Old Cask Islay Malt Scotch Whisky
This is an exquisite scotch whisky to spoil yourself. Aged in large hogshead casks, the maturing liquid is then transferred to first to fill ex-bourbon barrels and refill quarter casks. After finishing, there is just a touch of the trademark peat smoke which is tempered with lime and sea salt flavours. Contact us if you would like to buy a bottle.
Laphroaig Quarter Cask
The double maturation in two American oak casks offers double the flavor. While the whisky is still maturing, it is transferred from the ex-bourbon barrels to the quarter casks to give it more contact with the oak. A soft, velvety edge compliments the distinctive peatiness. The toffee and caramel on the nose is created by vanillas and tannins of the American oak and dryness of the wood oil. There is a long finish alternating between sweetness and smoke. You can buy the Laphroaig Quarter Cask in our online liquor store.
Laphroaig Select Cask
Carefully selected historical key casks are used, but the final maturing cask is in an American oak which is rare for scotch whisky. The different casks give the scotch whisky a subtle blend of peat, oak and sweetness. The Laphroaig ‘peet reek’ has an added layer of complexity with a fusion of maturing styles and different oaks. On the palate it is sweet then classic dry, peaty, ashy flavours with a rich finish. If you want to try this unique Scotch, we have the Laphroaig Select Cask in our online store.