Laphroaig (Gaelic: "The beautiful hollow by the broad bay") has its own peat-beds on Islay and a beautifully-maintained floor maltings at the distillery. Its maturation warehouses face directly on to the sea.
The distillery was built in the 1820s by Donald and Alex Johnston whose family
name is still
on the label. In 1847 Donald died two days after falling into a vat of
partially-made whisky ("Burnt Ale"). There were no doubt more raised eyebrows when in the late
1950s and early 1960s the distillery was owned by a woman, Miss Bessie
© Michael Jackson 1994, o.m.
I once heard a curious anecdote about Laphroaig, which I haven't been able to confirm: Apparently during the American prohibition on alcohol they stopped importation of Scotch, but some of the most phenolic stuff (ie Laphroaig) managed to slip through the net: It was imported as a *disinfectant*. The customs authorities must have thought that nothing smelling like Laph. could be drunk for any other than medical purposes... [ag, 1995]
I don't know about the disinfectant story but Laphroaig was the single best selling whisky legally during prohibition in the U.S. It was prescribed to those in need of medicinal alcohol (probably because it has been described as smelling of gauze). [rw, 1995]
Port Ellen, Islay, PA42 7DU
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