Laphroaig Distillery Notes

Laphroaig Distillery
Port Ellen, Isle of Islay PA42 7DU
Tel: +44 (0)1496 302418 Fax: +44 (0)1496 302496

For a complete index of’s distillery listings, including tasting notes, follow this link.

Laphroaig is a Gaelic-Norse hybrid rendered as “the beautiful hollow by the broad bay.” It is a legend among scotch whiskies, and is routinely rated as one of the greatest single malts of all time. That, despite its extremely strong and challenging taste, and a nose that smells of iodine.

The distillery is located in Port Ellen, the largest settlement on the isle of Islay, the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides, home to other famous peaty single malts including Lagavulin, Ardbeg and Bruichladdich. Laphroaig has a distinctive smoky flavor imparted by the peat fires used in the distilling process, and also (reputedly) by the local Islay air and water.

The distillery officially began operations in 1815, but probably started before that as an illegal smuggling operation. It was licensed in 1827.

Laphroaig’s history is intertwined with rival Lagavulin, which shares much of the same peaty quality, and at one time was entrusted to run the distillery itself. The two have squared off in court more than once, with legal battles focusing on access to the water, among other things.

Much is made of Laphroaig’s distinctiveness in the general scotch literature, though little is known about it as the distillery is unusually secretive about its processes. It is said that Lagavulin once tried to copy its style, but failed and eventually gave up.

The company is currently owned by Fortune Brands Inc., which also counts Jim Beam, Canadian Club and Teacher’s among its spirits portfolio.


Laphroaig 10 Year Old ($34, K&L)

Laphroaig 10 Year Old Cask Strength ($62, K&L)

Laphroaig Quarter Cask

Laphroaig 15 Year Old ($65, K&L

Laphroaig 25 Year Old ($200, Whisky Exchange)

Laphroaig 30 Year Old ($220, Liquor One) — Discontinued, 2007.

Dramfun Tasting Notes: I must admit that I stay away from the Islay scotches cause I am just not a peathead. So I was a little reluctant to try the Laphroaig, but since it was a 30yr I couldn’t pass up at least a small try. I have to say my scotch life changed with the first sip. The over powering peat I expected was replaced with a velvety smokiness that was amazingly mild and full bodied. If you are lucky enough to be in the company of a Laphroaig 30 and you are not a peathead, I highly recommend you open your mind and venture into the world of peat.

Whisky1 Tasting Notes: I’m not one for a really peaty scotch. I’ve tried the Laphroaig 10-year-old and the closest thing that comes to mind is licking an ashtray. But, since Prince Charles sings the praises of Laphroaig, I was ready to gamble. In this case no gamble at all, in hindsight anyway, since I was looking at a Laphroaig 30 year old, which is quite simply sublime. The smoky flavor of peat didn’t shoot up my nose in a gag-reflexing vomit. Rather it hung low in the mouth, more like a very cool and sexy fog. I tasted several different bottles of scotch on this particular night, but I topped up for seconds with this bottle and was ready to stick with it for the rest of the evening, except it was the last bottle I tried. To bad for me because the cheapest I could find the Laphroaig 30 online was $220 a bottle from Liquor One. I think this may have displaced in my imagination The Macallan 18 ($150, BevMo) as the benchmark for a great scotch.

See also the tasting notes from the Whiskey Magazine Community forum.

Laphroaig 40 Year Old (Unknown)

~ by whisky1 on August 20, 2008.

3 Responses to “Laphroaig Distillery Notes”

  1. […] (meh), Laphroig 30 (wow!) I’m not one for a really peaty scotch. I’ve tried the Laphroig 10-year-old and the closest thing that comes to mind is licking an ashtray. But, since Prince […]

  2. […] New Lineup I’ve just been catching up on reports of changes in the lineup at Laphroaig. Whisky Viking and the Whisky Magazine forums have the scoop, though you have to dig down a bit. […]

  3. […] the crew were gathered in the cabin. The captain turned to the first mate and said, “Pass the Laphroaig, […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: