Since 2019 Laphroaig released three books in the Ian Hunter Story, a series which tells the story of the last member of the Johnston family to own and manage the distillery (1908-1944). Eventually the set will hold no less than fifteen releases (that’s until the year 2034…). Different chapters are presented in a beautifully crafted boook which documents part of Ian’s legacy, each of them rare and collectable aged whiskies
We’re trying the latest Book #3, which is the oldest expression so far at 33 years of age.
Laphroaig 33 yo 1987 ‘Book 3: Source Protector’ (49,9%, OB – Ian Hunter Story 2021, refill ex-bourbon barrels, 4800 btl.)
Nose: the signature Laphroaig peat is certainly there, but it’s rounded by age. Seawater, elegant charcoal ashes, hints of lemon candy and bright peaches. Maybe some pineapple. Sweet almonds and whiffs of vanilla pastry. Menthol and embrocations, evolving to floral honey. A little polished wood, old leather and sheepwool as well. Quite excellent.
Mouth: somehow there’s a rather weak onset, staying silent for a while. After that it shows lots of beautiful fruity notes. Mango, pineapple and creamy papaya. However these are held back a little by a wave of oak, which also brings along peppery notes and ginger. It struggles to show its feathers. Subtle iodine and wax towards the end.
Finish: good length, but slightly drying, with mint, cold ashes, hints of white pepper and tobacco leaves.
A very good Laphroaig, with the typical fruity layer that seems to occur after some 25 years. However the oak seems to take away some of the magic. Still available in some places, originally around € 1000 but now ranging between € 1200 and € 1500.