Laphroaig celebrated its 200th birthday this year. It’s amazing to think that Laphroaig distillery has been in operation since 1815! The true origins of Laphroaig are lost to a time when distilling whisky on Islay was illegal. There’s no official tax records, but purportedly the Johnston family had been cattle farming the Kildalton area since 1776, and like most farmers they turned their excess feed (barley) into whisky. So if you take that story at face value then Laphroaig whisky is as old as the USA.
In order to celebrate their 200th birthday, Laphroaig held a special anniversary event at Chelsea Piers last week. The event was pretty intimate with mainly press invited to cover the festivities. It was held at the classy Golf Club at Chelsea Piers. It doesn’t get much more Scottish than golf and whisky. They had a few golf instructors on hand to assist people with their golf swings. I have very limited golfing experience but I’m always up for the driving range. It was a unique experience for me to get some one-on-one instruction on my driving motion.
They had an open bar with two special cocktails as well as three of their most popular expressions: Laphroaig Select, Laphroaig 10 Yr and Laphroaig 10 Yr Cask Strength (batch 006). Laphroaig’s Master Ambassador, Simon Booking, was on hand to answer questions and give people a special whisky or two. I got the chance to try Cairdeas 2015 and a pre-release Laphroaig 32 Yr Cask Strength. While the Cairdeas 2015 was tasty – it’s a classic Laphroaig through and through. The 32 Yr old was something special. This whisky was aged exclusively in Oloroso Sherry casks for 32 years and the red fruit sweetness works very well with Laphroaig’s smoky/peaty character. It’s supposed to be released to the USA market later this year but I don’t want to even think about the number of bottles or price; I’d wager that the former would be a very low number and the latter would be a very high number.
The Laphroaig #OpinionsWelcome campaign was also in full force at the event. They were having people fill out cards about what they think Laphroaig tastes like. They also had a label making machine to transcribe the opinions into a custom whisky label. Each guest got to take home their very own bottle of Laphroaig 10, a golf polo, a bowtie and a Laphroaig cookie. Ten points for the take home gifts!
All in all Laphroaig celebrated their 200th birthday in style and I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say that I wish them even more success in their future.