Laphroaig series honours founding familyBy Owen Bellwood
Scotch brand Laphroaig has released a new series of whiskies that honour Ian Hunter, the last member of the founding Johnston family to run the Islay distillery.
The youngest member of the Johnston family, Hunter joined the Laphroaig distillery in 1908. His relatives, brothers Donald and Alexander Johnston, founded the distillery in 1815. Hunter is credited with doubling the production capacity of the distillery and successfully exporting Laphroaig whisky around the world.
The new series of annually-released whiskies will each be featured in a book that documents part of Hunter’s legacy at the distillery, now owned by Beam Suntory.
The first release, Unique Character, “reflects Ian Hunter’s formidable character”. Just 400 nine-litre cases of the whisky have been released.
Book One: Unique Character has aged in first-fill Bourbon barrels and is non-chill filtered. It pays homage Hunter’s decision to introduce American white oak barrels to the maturation process at Laphroaig.
With an age statement of 30 years, the whisky is described as being “beautifully rounded with a combination of sweet, zesty and medicinal notes”.
John Campbell, Laphroaig distillery manager, said: “If you visit the Laphroaig distillery today its clear to see the impact of Ian Hunter through the practices and innovations that are still followed.
“For good reason Ian is credited as the pioneer and innovator of this incredible whisky. Without Ian, the Laphroaig we know today would not exist, so we have much to thank him for. It is this legacy that we celebrate throughout the series.”
The limited edition whisky is bottled at cask strength of 46.7% ABV and will be available at selected retailers for an RRP of £700 (US$860) per 700ml in the UK and US$1,250 per 750ml in the US. Book Two will be released in 2020.