Laphroaig Islay Single Malt Whisky
Being a true and loyal representative of the southern Islay Scotch whiskies, Laphroaig Single Malt is characterized by its smokiness, scents of seaweed and so called “medicinal” tones. But despite its heavy and refined taste, Laphroaig is much loved by both rare whisky collectors and entry-level whisky enthusiasts. The Laphroaig 10 years old is probably Laphroaig’s most appreciated core range whisky, and the limited edition Laphroaig 40 years old is just one of those very rare single malt whiskies that numerous collectors can only dream about.
The Laphroaig Distillery was established in the year 1815 by Alexander and Donald Johnston at a small farm in the city of Port Ellen, Islay. These two brothers initially operated the distillery together and in 1826 Donald requested for the distillery to become officially licensed. Approximately ten years later, Donald bought out Alexander and started to fully run the distillery on his own. Disaster stroke the Laphroaig Distillery in the year 1847. Donald Johnston became severely injured after falling into a kettle filled with boiling hot distilling residues and passed away two days later, leaving behind his four daughters and his son.
Donald Johnston’s son named Dugald was named as Donald’s successor to operate the Laphroaig Distillery, but since he was only eleven years old when his father passed away, the manager of the neighboring Lagavulin Distillery named Walter Graham leased the Laphroaig Distillery until the time had come for the young Dugald to take over the lead. And so it happened, Laphroaig’s operations were assigned to Dugald Johnston in the year 1857 at the age of 20, by which Dugald reclaimed the crown of the Johnson family legacy.
Dugald Johnston passed away in the year 1877 and Laphroaig remained Johnston family owned for decades. The distillery flourished and Laphroaig Single Malt Whisky became more and more appreciated among the citizens due to its much loved heavily peated -and smoky character. The spirit’s production increased and new distillery premises were built to provide for the distillery’s expansion. But sadly enough, in the 19th century is was very common for distillers to process the renowned Islay single malts into blended whiskies. Such was the case with Laphroaig Single Malt, whose success wasn’t unattended by its neighboring Lagavulin Distillery manager Peter Mackay, who acquired the major interest of the Laphroaig Single Malt in order to manufacture blended whisky variants. Therefore, the Johnstons were very concerned about the credibility and the market position of Laphroaig Single Malt and filed a lawsuit against Lagavulin. The court’s verdict was in the favor of Laphroaig and the agreement with Lagavulin was disbanded by law.
Obviously, this wasn’t received very well by Peter Mackay, who vindictively let some of his workers obstruct the Killbride Stream with stones, which diverted Laphroaig’s required water source. Another intervention by the court had Mackay obliged to restore the water stream in its original state. These lawsuits going back and forth left the Johnstons in a poor financial position. Isabella Johnston, one of the owners of the Laphroaig Distillery in that period of time, requested for her son Ian Hunter to travel to Islay in order to restore his family distillery management and finances. Ian Hunter did very well as the new distillery manager. The malting floors were expanded and the number of stills were doubled. Ian Hunter eventually was the last descendant in the Johnston family line to continue Laphroaig’s family legacy.
In the midst of the 20th century, Elisabeth “Bessie” Williamson applied for a secretary office job for the summer in the Laphroaig Distillery. Bessie was a Law Graduate with lots of skills and know-how, which wasn’t unattended by Ian Hunter. Hunter passed on his knowledge of distilling to Bessie Williamson throughout the following years and eventually named her as his solely successor. Bessie Williamson was very passionate with regards to Laphroaig Distillery’s continuing spirit and planned on expanding Laphroaig’s production capacity. Strategic as she was, Bessie sold two-third of the distillery’s company shares to Seager Evans & Co. in order to provide for new and bigger stills. This decision made Laphroaig more productive, more successful and more internationally renowned throughout the following years. Bessie’s legacy was set into infinity!
Until this day, Bessie Williamson is known as one of the most legendary connections with Laphroaig as the woman who led the distillery to its current success, but also by possibly being the world’s first female distillery manager.
Serge Valentin is one of the most prolific whisky aficionados and the premier source of whisky reviews. Serge uses the 100 point scale for his ratings.
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We rate most of the whiskies ourselves and use the 100 point scale. If we do not have a rating, we publish ratings of other renowned whisky critics in this column.
Number of bottles in stock
|Laphroaig • 10 Years Old Feathered Crest Badge 43%||NV||0,70||87||88||1||€ 70,00||€ 84,70|
|Laphroaig • 15 Years Old Dun Bheagan Cask 50094, 50096, 50097 46%||2004||0,70||2||€ 114,00||€ 137,94|
|Laphroaig • 18 Years Old Berry's for Whisky Import Nederland Cask 54 50.2%||1997||0,70||1||€ 165,00||€ 199,65|
|Laphroaig • 18 Years Old SMWS 29.185 Sweet dreams 51.9%||1997||0,70||91||7||€ 191,26||€ 231,42|
|Laphroaig • 25 Years Old Douglas Laing XOP Cask DL10798 57.8%||1989||0,70||4||€ 409,53||€ 495,53|
|Laphroaig • Bessie's Dram Not So Many Bottles Eiling Lim 51.3%||NV||0,70||9||€ 70,00||€ 84,70|
|Laphroaig • Cairdeas Feis Ile 2018 51.8%||NV||0,70||3||€ 132,80||€ 160,69|