The Lore of Laphroaig

I've probably enjoyed drinking my bottle of Laphroaig 15—a special release from the distillery last year—more than any other whisky in my collection as of late. I think the price played a big role in that enjoyment. If I remember correctly, that whisky sold for seventy bucks, which was incredibly low considering most distilleries don't even get out of bed to make a sub-$100 whisky these days. Even the distillery's Cairdeas releases, some of my most favorite from Islay over the last few years, usually come in at a reasonable $80 each time they're released. Laphroaig has always been reasonable that way. The whisky is never flashy or gimmicky. The labels are simple and classic. The prices affordable.

That's why when Laphroaig ambassador Simon Brooking came by this week to taste us on Laphroaig's latest release, we were all a bit surprised when we heard the retail price was estimated to be somewhere around $120. Yet, as I mentioned to Simon, if there's one distillery that's built up a decade's worth of good will, it's Laphroaig. The upcoming Lore expression from the Islay stalwart will not be a limited release, but rather a full-time whisky. It's something you can expect to see on the shelf everywhere and that's great news for whisky fans because the Lore is simply delicious. A blend of 7 and 21 year old Bourbon casks, 9 year old full-term quarter casks (not finished, but aged from day one), along with a few sherry and European oak casks for fun, the Lore stands out from the standard Laphroaig portfolio in a big way. It's richer, darker, more savory, and far more dense. It tastes like you're drinking a very old whisky while simultaneously taking a sip of something much younger. Unlike the bright, medicinal peat that explodes off the bat in the 10 year old, the Lore takes you much deeper into the peat bog with more earth, more weight, and more rancio from the sherry influence.

Everyone at K&L loved it—me included. 

"You guys have done such a good job pricing your whiskies over the years, I think fans will be surprised at the higher price, but will understand it's justified after tasting this; especially given the proportion of 21 year old whisky in the mix," I said to Simon before he left.

No word on a delivery date yet, but I'm pretty excited to get my hands on a bottle. My Laphroaig 15 is almost gone at this point.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll