Sternly poised on the Islay coast, one of three in Port Ellen, Laphroaig’s façade is as austere as its whisky. Waves crash against the white brick ‘LAPHROAIG’ walls with awesome ferocity. Think wrath of the sea rather than hint of maritime, here.
Recognized the world round for everything medicinal: not only are distillery bottlings presented in an apothecary-style green and white bottle, evocative of nightmarish childhood visits to the medicine cabinet, many also perceive its flavor profile a close relative to cough medicine, whilst others lap it up for its fiercely acquired taste. Definitely a love-it-or-hate-it type dram.
The distinctly medicinal flavor characteristic that is found in the spirit produced at Laphroaig is a result of the peat utilized during the malting process, which like very few distilleries in Scotland is still conducted at the site of the distillery in a traditional manner. The distillery maintains access to its own unique peat beds, at Glen Machrie, whose peat contains relatively high levels of ‘Sphagnum’, which develop iodine-like flavors during production.
On top of the potency of raw ingredients used at Laphroaig, the distillery’s process retains a large amount of phenols (ppm) in its new-make, making its whisky a fierce beast that requires robust maturation to develop graceful. Well-matured expressions, however, are absolutely sublime.