On the far edge of the Scotch whisky map, it’s supposed that the art of distillation was first brought to Islay by Irish monks. Being remote, it’s an art that flourished in the hands of the islanders, whose illegal operations tested the resolve and means of the tax man. Eventually, the law relaxed, various whisky makers set up legitimate distilleries, among them a pair of farmers, Donald and Alexander Johnston, who in 1815 founded their distillery on the island’s south coast. Laphroaig, so called after its location, ‘broad hollow by the bay.’ It would remain in family hands for the next 139 years. Find out more about the history of Laphroaig below, using the scroller on the timeline to travel back in time.
The year 2015 was both Laphroaig’s double centenary year and Friends of Laphroaig (FoL)’s 21st birthday.
We celebrated our 200th year with a whole host of events and special releases. At the request of our Friends of Laphroaig, we released a one-off bottling of the 15 Year Old, last brought out as the Erskine Charity Bottling in 2000. As more permanent reminder of the double centenary, we built a huge dry stone commemorative cairn by Kilbride Stream, source of all Laphroaig’s water. In May, the Feis Ile saw the launch of a 200th special Cairdeas bottling, a very limited 32 Year Old and a 21 Year Old, a FoL birthday exclusive. In July, we were graced with our third visit from HRH the Prince of Wales, who launched our Legacy Fund for the islanders. In 2015, the 200 winners of our Opinions Welcome competition had their opinions inscribed on the distillery wall. Finally, September saw our official 200th party during our Global broadcast, ‘Laphroaig Live’.
Given the significance of 2015, this was the year in which we wanted to remember Laphroaig’s whisky makers, past and present, all of whom are responsible for what Laphroaig is today: the world’s richest single malt whisky. It is in their honour that we went on to release Lore, our richest expression yet.