Laphroaig distillery was founded back in 1815 by brothers Alexander & Donald Johnstone on the south coast of Islay. Today it has grown to be one of the most successful single malt brands on the planet and arguably, one of the most characterful.
Laphroaig has long been known as the ‘marmite’ of whisky (in reference to an old marmite advertising campaign with the tag line ‘you either love it or you hate it’) but while many whisky drinkers can’t stand the stuff, Laphroaig also commands a huge and dedicated following of fans from all over the world who regularly make the pilgrimmage to the distillery. They even have their own fan club…
Purchase an official bottle of Laphroaig and inside the tube you will find a small booklet which contains a unique code which can then be used to register as a Friend of Laphroaig. As a member you will gain access to discounted pricing and special events. You even get your very own piece of land adjoining the distillery… a square foot to be precise! Much of the land surrounding Laphroaig was acquired some time ago in order to end a dispute over the distilleries water source and while this allowed production to continue uninterrupted, it left the owners with an awful lot of empty land. It may be the ultimate gimmick, but the idea to gift a square foot of land to every Friend of Laphroaig is a great bit of fun and has proved very popular, with visitors to the distillery tracking down their ‘plot’ and some even planting a small flag!
Away from the distillery, casks of Laphroaig sometimes find their way into the stocks of independent bottlers and while they can sometimes command a hefty price, particularly when at a good age, there are still some bargains to be found. The Good Spirits Company is my local retailer and as well as selling some of the best spirits from around the world, they also dabble in their own line of bottlings. They’ve been on something of a roll recently and I’ve reviewed excellent bottlings of Glenrothes and Bunnahabhain already this year. This latest release is a 6 year old Laphroaig, which more than maintains the run of quality.
Smell: Peat Smoke & Ash, not as medicinal as Laphroaig can be, Vanilla, Lemon Meringue and Wood Spice.
Taste: Wow. An attack of Smoke and Spice. Ash, Lemon and Vanilla, touch of Marmalade. Heavier than most Laphroaig’s with a rather oily texture.
Value for Money: A single cask Laphroaig bottled at cask strength for £50 is hard to find these days. One this good is nigh on impossible.
Score: 46 / 50. About the scores…
Another cracker from the folks at the Good Spirits. You couldn’t describe this six year old Laphroaig as subtle or refined but there are a lot of flavours here, it’s just that rather than existing in perfect harmony they kick, scream, bite and scratch for your attention in an astonishing burst of flavour. Young, Strong, Smoky and not afraid to throw it’s weight around. Yes please.