John Campbell on Craftsmanship

LAPHROAIG’S DISTILLERY MANAGER, JOHN CAMPBELL, SPEAKS HIS MIND

There are different challenges when you’re working with peated whisky over regular malts. You really need to manage the balance. Go too far with the peat and you’ll start getting some really undesirable flavors; don’t go far enough and it’s too sweet. That’s why blending plays such a huge part with peated whisky, just keeping everything consistent, marrying all those different flavors together.

A sense of place is, of course, huge with our whisky. When you get to Islay for the first time, you immediately realize why it tastes the way it does—because it couldn’t taste any other way! There aren’t many trees, we’re by the ocean, you’re standing across from a bog, maybe a storm has spread seaweed all over our courtyard, and you just understand. You finally get it. I’ve heard people say, “Oh yeah…” It just makes sense.

Tasting Tip:
As you sip, pay specific attention to the earthiness, the peatiness, and those medicinal iodine notes. You’ll get a real sense of place.

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