In September last year, Laphroaig unveiled its first expression in a new series of whiskies that honour Ian Hunter, the last member of the founding Johnston family to run the Islay distillery. The range will consist of five whiskies, each released annually.
The first bottling, Book One: Unique Character, paid homage to Hunter’s decision to introduce American white oak barrels to the maturation process at Laphroaig.
This year’s bottling is Book Two: Building an Icon, which was matured in Sherry casks for 30 years. The expression marks Hunter’s work on expanding the distillery and his “innovative approach to whisky making”.
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.
John Campbell, Laphroaig distillery manager, said: “You cannot enjoy Laphroaig’s exquisitely smoky and complex liquid, without paying homage to the legendary Ian Hunter. His influence on our whisky production techniques and our iconic brand as a whole is undeniable. The second book in our Ian Hunter Story celebrates his legacy in shaping Laphroaig to what it is today.”
The non-chill-filtered whisky has a nose of dried dates, figs, toffee and dark chocolate. The palate offers manuka honey and stone fruit, followed by a long finish.
The whisky is encased in a box that replicates a book to recount the story of Hunter’s legacy.
Bottled at 48.2% ABV, the Book Two whisky is available from select retailers, priced at RRP £760 (US$986) per 700ml. It is limited to 400 nine-litre cases.