Laphroaig 1988 The Syndicate 30 Year Old
The Syndicate was founded by John McTaggart, an Islay property investor who had been acquiring casks of Islay whisky for his estate as early as the 1970s, and had a habit of bottling these in a myriad of containers for visiting guests and workers there. MacTaggart later invited some friends to join him in the purchase of some 1970s vintage casks, the most famous of these was a parcel of 1979 vintage Lagavulin, and The Syndicate was born. Having been involved in the re-opening of Bruichladdich distillery, John was able to hold his casks in bond there, as well as having access to its bottling hall. Notable for its simple and elegant label designs, The Syndicate bottlings let the whisky do all the talking, and are increasingly sought after.
This is a 1988 vintage Laphroaig, drawn from single cask #9201 in 2018.
Laphroaig is the largest of the three heavyweight Islay distilleries in Kildalton, out-stripping the production capacity of neighbours, Ardbeg and Lagavulin, by over 1 million litres per annum. Despite its traditional appearance, Laphroaig was always a forward-thinking distillery. It was bottled as a single malt as early as the 1920s, an unfashionable option at the time, especially for a peated whisky. They were also shrewd in capitalising on post-Prohibition America to add trademark sweetness to their spirit through the use of imported ex-bourbon casks, and hired Scotland’s first ever female distillery manager, Bessie Williamson, in 1954. Laphroaig is one of only a handful of distilleries in Scotland to still use in-house maltings, providing them with 20% of their annual requirements, and contributing to the distillery’s unique flavour profile.