Laphroaig is located by a beautiful bay in the southern part of the island, just by the town of Port Ellen..
Nearby there are Ardbeg and Lagavulin, as like charmingly situated and influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea.
The distillery offers a few tours of which I chose Water to Whisky Experience – the longest and most comprehensive trip to the Laphroaig’s World.
We met about 1000 in the Visitors Centre, where we were welcomed by a large man in Scottish costume, not excluding of course the kilt. He began to speak, seems to be in Gaelic, with elements of English, but nevertheless I could not understand. I assume that he was greeting and offering a dram. I conclude this because after a while I held in my hand a glass of Laphroaig Quarter Cask.
After it was emptied we were offered to leave shoes and put on provided wellies.
We also met our tour guide Bryony. In her case, there were no communication difficulties as she used so-called common English. Next we marched by the hills and valleys to the Laphroaig’s water source.
With access to water Laphroaig once had considerable trouble. As a result of feud the owner of a neighboring business Lagavulin cut off Laphroaig from access to this important element. Although the courts resolved the dispute, the distillery bought a strip of land from the coast to the water source in the mountains to avoid such problems in the future. The water used to produce whiskey flows through the moors and bogs, hence its color in its natural form is similar to the color of the finished product. Of course, at a later stage of production, in particular by distillation, before pouring into barrels, alcohol will be colourless.
Near the water source Bryony prepared a lunch for us, everything was very good and interesting example giving cheese or cakes made with whisky. By the way, we tasted Laphroaig 10 years old in cask strenght version.
Then we went to the field of extraction and drying of peat. Quarter Cask dram accompanied by orange (very good combination) was also available.
After cutting and preparing peat we returned to visiting the distillery. Laphroaig as one of the few Scottish distilleries still prepairs some malt on site. The rest is purchased from Port Ellen Maltings – a converted, former distillery, owned by Diageo.
The process of drying and peating is also done on site.
The fermentation process is carried out in stainless steel vats. This raises the mash, yeasty smell and milky-yeasty taste.
Seven stills currently operates in Laphroaig.
Distilled alcohol goes to the barrels and starts aging in warehouses.
In the warehouses, accompanied by countless amounts of maturing whisky, we had the opportunity to taste and self bottle whisky straight from the barrel.
We could choose from distilates of 1997, 1999 and 2003 years.
Bottled whisky should be registered.
There was shaking hands and trip to the bar left.