The Laphroaig distillery
Love it or hate it! Love it or hate it! Laphroaig’s advertising is complete, direct and without frills. Just like the single malt that loudly and proudly declares its peaty, marine character. Marine is almost an understatement as the distillery literally has its toes in the water. It’s no surprise that iodine wafts from the glass as much as it does through the air.
The first distillery on the road to Kildalton, just a few miles from Port Ellen, you know you’ve reached Laphroaig when you see the “Friends of Laphroaig” signposts at the entrance to the field facing its beautiful, tree-lined avenue. Today 290,000 people are virtual owners of this little patch of peatland where they can plant their national flag to mark their sparse, one-metre square property. And on very rainy days (which aren’t all that rare), the “Friends of Laphroaig” will find a life jacket hanging at the edge of the field and sometimes even a rope to guide them through the fog. What better motivation to come and pick up the rent, which is paid in the form of a miniature Laphroaig!
The great smells spilling out from each stage of the production process make Laphroaig one of the most exciting distilleries to visit on Islay (when it is in operation). The smell of the acrid smoke of the peat from the maltings - which provides around 10% of its supply, with the rest coming from Port Ellen; the smell of the grains in the mash tun - whose stainless steel vat lid perhaps helps concentrate the aromas; and the surprising scent of strawberries and raspberries produced by the yeast during fermentation; and that’s before even getting to the fruity and peaty notes drifting through the still room where stills line up like soldiers on parade.