Laphroaig

Laphroaig distillery

Established in 1815, Laphroaig shared its 200th anniversary with Ardbeg in 2015. The distillery produces 3,200,000 litres each year. It has four wash stills and three spirit stills. It makes 15% of its own malted barley, the remaining 85% coming from Port Ellen maltings. Although the specifications are the same, the malted barley produced on site may be less consistent and so barley from the two sources are mixed for each mash. The distillery uses one ton of peat for each seven tons of grain.

The distillery can be found on the south coast of Islay and is the nearest to Port Ellen. The visitor centre is impressive and includes a whisky museum and a new lounge. There is no cafe but free vending drinks are available. The Friends of Laphroaig scheme encourages you to sign up whence you will be allocated a square foot plot of land that you can visit. Laphroaig will pay you rental each year of a Laphroaig 10 miniature.

There is inside and outside seating and the views out across the sea are excellent.

Laphroaig Chase £50

I attended the Laphroaig Chase, based loosely on the ITV quiz show where contestants answer general knowledge questions and try to outrun the chaser; in this game the chaser was distillery manager John Campbell. Four teams of four were picked at random from the audience of about 35. These competed to find a winning team, then one person from that team went head-to-head with John. A bit of cheating went on and the four members of the winning team each received a bottle of the Feis Ile 2019.

During the game we stopped for a commercial break and had four tastings:

Single cask 6514 filled 2010, 8¾yo first fill 60.5%. Flavours of caramel. Light amber.

Single quarter cask, 12yo 42%. Nettles, grapefruit, cut grass. Amber.

13yo, 5 years in first fill then 8 years in Fino, 56.2%. Physalis, hessian sack, creamy, smoke. Dark amber.

2003 first fill, 57%. Vanilla, grass, pepper, oily.