While I’m sure that the glorious warm sunshine and blue skies in Islay help, I’m starting to suspect that when it comes to picking a location for your new distillery, a beautiful coastal location is right up there with a good water supply and a ready source of peat.
Laphroaig certainly has the location, snuggled on the south coast of the island next to Lagavulin and Ardbeg. Despite moderate crowds – although certainly nothing close to the mobs at Bruichladdich – it managed to feel calm, relaxing and almost tranquil.
As well as the premium tastes (of which, I’m happy to say, more in a later post!) the distillery put on tastings of their core range, including their classic 10 Year Old and a cask strength version, right up to their 18 Year Old.
I hadn’t encountered their Triple Wood before, which was like a nicely rounded Laphroaig – smoother and sweeter than the 10 Year Old, as if the different casks it had passed through had given it a more reserved, more mature feel.
This year’s Cairdeas was spectacular. Port aged, and looking darker than I think I’ve ever seen a Laphroaig, it blended the sweetness and fruit of the port perfectly with the dry, smoky character of the distillery and manages to be both complex and tremendously drinkable at the same time. For less than fifty pounds, it’s a steal.
Another low key open day, but Laphroaig’s soul was very much on show. Relaxing on the shore with friends and a fine dram (or two), you really couldn’t ask for much more.