Laphroaig Elements 2.0 is the second in a series of experimental Islay single malt whiskies from this legendary distillery. Let’s take a closer look. 

When it comes to limited edition whiskies, most distilleries fall back on two variables, age and cask type. Often both together. And who doesn’t love a long-aged single malt especially if there’s some sort of unusual cask involved like Banyuls or manzanilla sherry? Though you can keep your agave, thank you very much. But however rare, expensive and unusual these releases might be, they will all start with the same spirit produced using the standard fermentation and distillation techniques. 

But for the Elements series of single malts, Laphroaig has gone back to the beginning starting with the barley and how it is processed. Before we take a look at the new series, a quick reminder of Laphroaig’s history.

Laphroaig Elements 2.0 New arrival

The beautiful Laphroaig Distillery on Islay

The Laphroaig story

Dating back to 1815, Laphroaig distillery was founded on the south coast of Islay by Donald and Alexander Johnstone. Today it is flanked by three illustrious neighbours, Port Ellen, Lagavulin and Ardbeg. Laphroaig remained in family hands until 1954, when Ian Hunter, the last relative of the Johnstones, died. His legacy is honoured with a series of special rare releases.

Now in the hands of Beam Suntory, Laphroaig is one of the few distilleries in Scotland that still has its own floor maltings. It is famous for producing one of the world’s most distinctive whiskies with its medicinal smoky taste. No wonder it is said to be the favourite single malt of King Charles III. 

Laphroaig Elements series

The first release in the Elements series, the aptly-named Laphroaig Elements 1.0 used only Islay-grown barley. This was processed using two modern 5.5-tonne mash tons and one older 8.5-tonne one, which dates back to before the distillery was refurbished in the 1990s. These produced two types of wort: a normal semi-cloudy one and a powerful cloudy version. The result was a powerful, distinctive new-make spirit, which was aged in bourbon casks before bottling at 58.6% ABV.

Now Elements 2.0 is here. When making this second instalment in the series, the team looked at ways to experiment with their traditional fermentation process. Instead of using Laphroaig’s usual 55-hour fermentation, this single malt was created from a number of longer fermentations, with some ranging up to nearly five days, and all together totalling 115 hours creating a wash with lots of fruity character. Harking back to practices of old, the tun was specially aerated during fermentation.

Laphroaig Elements 2.0

A fruitier Laphroaig

This special new make was then aged in bourbon casks before bottling at cask strength, 59.6% ABV. The long fermentation times really accentuate Laphroaig’s fruity side, something that is particularly apparent if you’ve ever been lucky enough to taste any of the long-aged Ian Hunter releases, but at a younger age. While the medicinal notes are all present and correct, this is a long way from the phenolic monster character that most people associate with Laphroaig. 

Distillery Manager Barry MacAffer explained: “Laphroaig Elements 2.0 is an unexpected fruitier whisky with the same peaty character you’ve come to know and love – made possible by over double the typical fermentation period. I’m keen to hear what our Friends think of this whisky which follows in the successful footsteps of Elements 1.0.”

Laphroaig Elements 2.0 70cl is available from Master of Malt. Click on links for prices and to buy. 

Tasting note from The Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: Richly fruit with cooked apple and orange peel with wafts of medicinal character balanced by sweet vanilla.

Palate: The fruity note continues with fresh apple and custard followed by a gentle peatiness with coastal bonfires. 

Finish: Vanilla and toffee with lingering wood smoke.