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History Of Scotch Whisky History Essay

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The process of distillation was discovered by the Egyptians and Chinese for the extraction of perfumes and adapted by the monks in Europe for the distillation of wine and brandy. The distillation process arrived relatively late in Scotland. The year 1494 saw the first record of a distillation taking place in the country.

In 12th century a form of whiskey was being distilled in Ireland and then it was introduced in Scotland by the monks of Celtic Church.

St. Columba travelled from Ireland to Iona in 563 A.D. The Scottish Island of Islay, close to Iona has strong historical connections with Ireland due to the common language called Gaelic.

The early Scottish distillers were doctors and its production was done for a medicinal use.

16th Century

In 16th century, 1505, the guild of surgeon barbers was given a monopoly of manufacturing whisky. In all countries, the early distillers produced spirits that were too raw to drink, and most had flavourings added like honey to sweeten them, herbs and spices to give added flavour and efficacy.

17th Century

When the Scottish Parliament first taxed drinks in 1644, it referred in English to "strong water", in Latin to aqua vitae, and in Gaelic to "uisge beather" or "usquebaugh", all terms that mean "water of life". It is widely thought that "whiskey" came about as a corruption of uisge.

The word finally achieved formal recognition in 1755 with its entry in the dictionary of Dr. Samuel Johnson.

Whisky remained as a local spirit for centuries. In the Highlands, a type of malt whisky would have been made in small stills for use by the local communities. Meanwhile, the Lowlands started producing larger volumes of whisky, mostly for export to England, where it was redistilled with botanicals into gin.

18th and 19th Century

In 18th and 19th century certain attempts were made to bring the process of distillation under some controlling body. Farmers thought that whisky making is their right.

The smuggling era ended in 1823 as the use of smaller stills was legalized and the modern Scotch whisky industry born.

In the eighteenth century whisky was not the preferred drink for the people of Scotland and England, Cognac and fine wines from France were more likely served at their tables.

But in 1863 an outbreak of phylloxera in France started to destroy the vineyards. The production of wine and more importantly cognac came to a halt. Customers had to turn to their home product.

Malt whiskey is the product of malted barley only. Grain whisky and whisky from Ireland and the United States are produced from a wider range of cereals including rye, wheat and corn. Some grains have been used in alcoholic beverage production in other cultures, like buckwheat, millet, and job's tears, but not commercially in western culture.

DEFINITON

Single Malt Scotch is whisky made in Scotland using a pot still distillation process at a single distillery, with malted barley as the only grain ingredient. As with any Scotch whisky, a Single Malt Scotch must be distilled in Scotland and matured in oak casks in Scotland for at least three years but some of the single malts are matured longer. A single malt whisky is distilled at an individual distillery and produced only from malted barley. When bottled, a single malt may include whisky from several years production from the same distillery. The age shown on the bottle reflects the length of time the youngest whisky included in the bottling has matured in the cask.

The Scotch Whisky Association defines a single malt as follows: it must contain exclusively of malt whisky, and it has to be distilled at a single distillery. Until World War II, large quantities of single malt were produced in Ireland, as well.

Whiskey, Mark A. Hoffmann

The whisky industry around the world uses a number of different types of cask ("cask is the appropriate term, whereas "barrel" is a size of cask) for maturation. These can be of different sizes and also made of different types of oak. Both of these factors will give different flavours to the maturing spirit. The influence of the the size of the cask is determined by the ratio between the wood and the liquid inside the cask. The smaller the cask , the more there is oak for the liquid to interact with. Conversely, the larger the cask, the less oak would come in contact with the liquid. In simple terms, a small cask will deliver a greater impact of wood in a shorter time than a larger one. The downside of this is that the smaller the cask is, the quicker the whisky will become overly woody

The number of times a cask is filled will also have a major impact on the final flavour of the spirit. The first time it is used, the cask is at its maximum in terms of flavour and colour compounds. The second time it is filled, so these elements are reduced and in the third time, the flavours get diminished even more. Therefore the cask gets exhausted and has nothing more to give. It is no more than a neutral vessel for keeping but not for maturing- liquid.

Knowing the size of the cask is certainly useful, but knowing the number of fills it has had is even more so.

Whisky magazine, Issue 100

A single malt scotch whisky is produced only from water, malted barley and yeast at a single distillery.

Malt whisky is distilled from varieties of spring barley (sown March - early April and harvested August- September) as opposed to winter barley ( sown August- September and harvested the following late July- early August).Spring barley usually has higher starch levels than winter barley, and as starch levels determine the yield of alcohol spring barley yields about 1.5- 2 percent more spirit than winter barley.

Scotland produces sufficient spring barley to cater for the malt whisky industry, having current planting around 2,50,000 hectares. However, average spring barley yields in the last 10 years have been around 10 percent higher than the previous 10 years, with average yield now 5.5 tonnes per hectare, according to Scottish government figures.

-Whisky magazine, Issue 100.

Barley

Barley is a grain of the genus Hordeum and belongs to the family of poaceae, or grasses. The earliest historical evidence dates back to the year 10,500 B.C. Western Europe has a long tradition of growing barley as well, including Scotland and Ireland. There are two main types of barley: wild barley and domesticated barley. The latter is in turn divided into two - row and multi - row barley. Two row barley is cultivated in Europe and six- row barley in the U.S.A.

Most of the barley used in Scotland is grown domestically, though small quantities of barley are also imported from the English regions of Norfolk and Northumberland. The main growing areas in Scotland are Black Isle, Morayshire, Aberdeenshire, Fife, Angus and Lothian. Barley suitable for the production of whisky should have low nitrogen content; nitrogen values higher than 1.7 percent are an indicator of both high protein and high levels of fertilizer, both of which are undesirable for whisky production. Moreover, the barley used for whisky should have low water content, definitely no more than 17 percent.

The reason barley is so attractive in whisky production is due to its ability to convert starch into fermentable sugars.

When distilleries buy in barley, not only do they check for mould but also the nitrogen content is assessed. The more nitrogen found within the grain, the less carbohydrate there will be for turning to sugars during malting. As these sugars are vital for yeast to feed on to produce alcohol, it is not surprising that malted barley finds it way into almost every whisky type.

WATER

All over the world there are many varieties of water as there are of whisky. The water in Speyside region for instance is relatively soft, because it flows over granite, it only picks up trace amounts of minerals. In Cardhu the water flows over quartzite, while in Inchgower it flows over red sandstone. The Glenmorangie distillery in the Northern Highlands, uses very hard water that flows over limestone and is rich in zinc, calcium and magnesium. It is hard to make a general statement as to whether soft water or hard water is more suitable for whisky production. Both kinds of water contribute to each whisky's distinctive taste.

Even today, when a distillery is built, the first thing to be located is the water source. Sometimes there are problems, Contamination or an unexpected drying-up of the supply may lead a distillery to switch briefly to town water for mashing, even after it has been chlorinated. Even some of the most traditional of Scottish distilleries have to pass water through a de-chlorination process as the lochs which supply them also supply the community. Some Scottish distilleries use chlorinated town water all the time, quite confident that first the mashing process and then the high temperature of the bubbling pots will get rid of anything that may have an adverse effect on the spirit.

Generally and globally speaking, those are clear distilleries which take care to ensure the quality of their water: it is not unusual for them to buy all the land around their source so fertilizers do not accidently find their way into the supply. Obviously, the water for cooling the condensers does not have to be of quite such a pure standard.

Of the entire world's water, the one which has the most popularity in the local whisky is found on Islay. The waters which feed the Ardbeg, Laphroaig and Lagavulin distilleries. In Scotland, distilleries also prefer to draw from their reservoir through springs which allow water stored under-ground for years rather than weeks to finally escape.

As a rule though, Scotland distilleries work with soft water which is relatively mineral-free and occasionally as close to pure as you are likely to find. This is because much of the underground water has contact with unyielding, impervious granite.

YEAST

Yeast is the third essential ingredient for the production of whisky. Just like water and barley, yeast is a raw material. It is used to convert the sugars - obtained from the starch contained in the barley- into alcohol. After the fermentation, the alcohol content is called the wash, and is between 7.5% to 10%. Some distilleries use the brewer's yeast, the same kind that is used for brewing beer, while others have their own yeast culture or have it cultivated by a third party according to a special recipe.

The yeast culture themselves are single-celled fungi that belong to the phylum of sac fungi. They are microorganisms that reproduce by splitting or budding.

Louis Pasteur discovered that yeast consists of microorganisms. Pasteur was also able to demonstrate that the production of alcohol requires fermentation. Yeast was for the first time produced in 1883 at the Danish Carlsberg Brewery. Malted barley contains some wild yeast, but more potent, cultivated types of yeast are required in order to start the process of fermentation. Distilleries use different type of yeast for different type of whisky's, and the choices made can influence both the alcoholic content and the taste of the final product. This is why distilleries put a lot of care and effort into culturing yeast.

Peat

Peat is acidic, decayed vegetation made from bog plants such as sphagnum moss, heather, sedges and grasses- the composition varies according to the peat bog's location. For peat to develop there must be high rainfall, a cold atmosphere and poor soil drainage or aeration. The waterlogged ground cannot break down the vegetation, so a thickening layer of peat develops. Some ancient peat bogs are up to 10,000 years old and the peat layer can run to a depth of nine metres.

In order for peat to form, the top layer of earth must be impermeable to air. Given the right conditions, such a layer can soak up water like a sponge and turn into peat. In coastal regions, the peat contains more sand and carries salty aromas. Peat has a major influence on the flavour of the whisky. The peaty flavour is determined by the phenolic content, which is measured. Modern production methods make it possible to control phenol levels very accurately. Peat is divided into three categories: mildly peat at 1-5 ppm, medium peat at 10-20 ppm, and peat at 30-60 ppm. The peat (30-60 ppm) is the most common.

In Highlands peat was abundantly available, kind of a free fuel. A good cutter can win about 1,000 peats a day-not terribly efficient in terms of the heat it produces; peat was an economic necessity for Highland malt distilleries which often had their own peat bogs. In May or June the distillery workforce would cut the year's requirement; no mean task, considering that a single crofting family could use 15,000 peats a year for domestic purposes. Once cut the peats were laid out on the heather around the peat bank and then stacked in small pyramids called cas bhic, to dry thoroughly for a year.

Lowlands peat contain more vegetable matter, have a looser, softer texture, burn more rapidly and give more dust. There is not much peat abundance; therefore the whiskies there have no smoke.

Distilleries throughout Scotland use some barley dried over peat fires. However, many Speyside and Lowland distilleries produce single malt whiskies which contain no peaty influence. The high peat content in the Islay distilleries is because it is the only local source of local fuel. Some Islay distilleries use malt which has been subjected to heavy peat, with phenol levels. The smokiest ones are- Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Laphroaig- are up around 50 ppm.

Traditionally, distillers performed this process on site in what is called a "floor malting". The moistened barley would be spread out on cool concrete floors and then turned with great exertion with shovels as it germinated. Then the barley is spread on perforated floors, and peat fire beneath served the dual purposes of halting the sprouting and adding the smoky taste.

DISTILLERIES IN SCOTLAND

Scotches of a place often share a regional character, and though exceptions exist. The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) recognizes five regions- Campbeltown, Highlands, Islay, Lowlands and Speyside. A sixth island is included which the SWA folds into the Highlands.

ISLANDS-

Highland Park

Isle of Jura

Scapa

Talisker

CAMPBELTOWN-

Springbank

HIGHLANDS-

Aberfeldy

Ardmore

Balblair

Clynelish

Dalmore

Dalwhinnie

Edradour

Glen Dronach

Glen Garioch

Glengoyne

Glenmorangie

Oban

Old Pulteney

LOWLANDS-

Auchentosham

Glenkinchie

SPEYSIDE-

Aberlour

Balvenie

BenRiach

Cardhu

Cragganmore

Glenfarclas

Glenfiddich

Glen Grant

Glenlivet

Glenrothes

Longmorn

Macallan

The Singleton of Glendullan

Strathisla

Tomintoul

ISLAY-

Ardbeg

Bowmore

Bruichladdich

Bunnahabhain

Caol Ila

Kilchoman

Laphroaig

Lagavulin

Alcoholic Strength

Alcohol is measured in percentage volume by a standard called Abv i.e. "Alcohol by volume". This is a standard measure to calculate how much alcohol an alcoholic beverage contains. The Abv standard is used worldwide. Another way of specifying alcohol is proof system which in United States is twice the alcohol by volume number, while in U.K is 1.75 times the alcohol by volume number. In 1740 a hydro meter was invented by one Mr. Clark and this was done to measure the strength of the whisky.

The first licensed distillery in Scotland was The Glenlivet in 1824 followed by Cardhu, The Glendronach, Old Fettercairn, and The Macallan. The earliest recorded commercial distilleries in the eighteenth century were Bowmore (1779), Highland Park (1795), Lagavulin (1784), Littlemill (1772), and Toberemory (1795). The largest distiller to remain under Scottish ownership is William Grant & Sons, owned by the Grant family, with headquarters in Motherwell, Scotland. As of 2004, over 90% of the single malt Scotch produced is used to make blended Scotch.

Flavour, aroma, and finish differ widely from one single malt to the next. Single Malt Scotch whiskies are categorised into the following whisky-producing regions.

Highland Single Malts

Island Single Malts- A sub-section of the Highland region

Speyside Single Malts- The north-eastern coastal area of the Highland region

Islay Single Malts

Lowland Single Malts

Campbeltown Single Malts

Competitors of Single malt Scotch Whisky

The real long term threat to single malt whisky are-

American Whiskey

Rum

There are three common threats from both of these spirits i.e. accessibility, flavour and production. Firstly, both American whiskey and Rum are made with the continuous still, therefore the output is both cheaper and far more efficient.

Secondly, the warm climate enjoyed by them across the pond means that although evaporation loss is greater, their spirit requires a much shorter maturation period.

These two factors mean that both Rum and American whiskey can offer the new consumer a better value of mature spirit of equal quality to single malt.

All this adds up to a big challenge for whisky producers. While blends are relatively safe and malts may benefit from an influx of newcomers, they face increased competition to retain younger consumers, who do not possess the same kind of brand or category loyalties of older whisky drinkers.

Whisky magazine, Issue 100.

LAPHROAIG

HISTORY

In 1745 the rebellions split Scotland into two halves.

In 1815, two brothers Donald and Alexander Johnson took 1000 acres of land on lease now known as Laphroaig for breeding cattle. Now to feed cattle barley was grown and with the surplus barley whisky was made.

It is rightly said "if you are English then beer would be fermented with the surplus barley but for an Islay Scotsmen there is only one thing distil whisky".

As the source of water being very soft and peat being easily available helped in making Laphroaig popular and profitable.

Ownership

Donald gave his brother Alexander 350 euros for his share of Laphroaig, becoming the sole proprietor. Alexander agreed to it and immigrated to Australia where he died in the year 1881.

Donald died in the year 1847 by falling into a vat of partially made whisky. After Donald his son Dugald being the only person to run the operations of the distillery but he was very young to takeover. Therefore the distillery was taken over by his uncle John Johnston and a local farmer Peter McIntyre.

In the year 1857 Dugald Johnston took over the operations of the distillery and was helped by his cousin Alexander Johnston. Together they ran the distillery until Dugald died on 6th January 1877.

Alexander died in 1887 and the distillery was taken over by his sisters Mrs. Willian Hunter, Katherine Hunter and his nephew J. Johnston-Hunter.

Ian Hunter son of Willian Hunter took over the distillery operations in 1921.

The business remained family-owned until 1954, when ownership was transferred to Bessie Williamson, the secretary, who had been an employee of the distillery for many years. She was the first woman owner and distillers in the industry. She knew that to grow Laphroaig world-wide, it needed the support of an international group, one would carry on with the old traditions and would have financial power. Therefore, she sold the business to Long John International in 1967, but continued to conduct business herself until she retired in 1972.

In 1990, Allied Domecq acquired the distillery and has carefully nurtured Laphroaig ever since and making it the world's largest selling single malt.

Problem with the Neighbours

Laphroaig's neighbour Lagavulin use to take half of their output to blend it with grain whisky. This restricted Laphroaig's ability to sell its own pure malt whisky to a wider market. However in those days Laphroaig's liquid smoky, peaty taste was highly appreciated by whisky blenders and even today it is the foremost whisky for blending.

The family decided that Mackie and Co. were getting just too much from them so they terminated their agreement as agent. Even a court case got started.

In 1907, Mackie and Co. got his men to block up and divert the precious water source with stones. However the court intervened and Mackie and Co. were asked to put the things in the same way.

In 1908, Mackie and Co. tried to copy the taste of Laphroaig by persuading their head brewer to work with Lagavulin. Then some attempts were made by them to buy Laphroaig and its precious land but they also failed.

Due to several court cases, it became difficult for Ian Hunter to arrange money.

GETTING POPULAR AROUND THE WORLD

Scandinavians liked its full bodied, thick peat-smoke and oily character as they were the first to settle in Islay. Exports grew to Latin America, Europe and even to the USA and Canada.

In 1994, His royal Highness (HRH) Prince Charles personally came to Laphroaig and gave his Royal warrant. HRH even signed the visitors book and wrote " I hope you continue to use the traditional methods, I think you make the finest whisky in the world".

Then a second visit was made by the His Royal Highness Prince Charles on his 60th birthday in 2008. The distillery launched the first Cairdeas Feis Ile bottling. Cardeas refers to friendship in Gaelic so it seemed an apt name to assign to the bottles that are only available to their friends.

In 2005, Laphroaig was considered as "the best of the best" in the Champions of Whisky Competition.

LEADING BRANDS

Laphroaig 10 year old

In making the Laphroaig , malted barley is dried over a peat fire. The smoke from this peat, found only on Islay, gives Laphroaig its particularly rich flavour. It is best savoured neat, or with a little cool water. While drinking it releases the pungent earthy aroma of blue peat smoke, the sweet nuttiness of the barley, the delicate heathery perfume of Islay's stream.

Laphroaig cask strength

It was awarded as the best as world's best whisky in 2005 by whisky magazine. Original cask strength Laphroaig is bottled at natural distillery with all the depth of genuine taste and texture normally associated with sampling whisky at source. It is barrier filtered only just, to remove the small char particles present. Adding a little water releases a rich aroma of peat smoke with sweetness and strong hints of the sea.

Tasting Notes-

Colour- Rich deep Gold.

Nose- very powerful, medicine, smoke, ozone characters overlaying a sweetness.

Body- full and strong

Laphroaig Quarter Cask

As the industry grew, they fell into disuse-bigger and more cost effective barrels became the norm, for maturation and transportation. They noted that the small cask size gives up to 30% greater contact with the wood compared to some of the larger sizes used today, thus greatly intensifying the maturation process. It was decided to recreate some of the quarter cask and the flavours they produce. They transferred some still maturing Laphroaig from our larger style barrels into the quarter cask.

18 Year Old

The immediate taste is an oak sweetness, from 18 years in the barrel. A faint hint of the sea can be detected. A soft, sweet and spicy Islay peat smoke greets when the bottle is opened for the first time.

Bottled at 48% ABV and non-chill filtered for a depth of taste and texture.

Laphroaig 25 year old

Laphroaig 25 years old is created by mixing the Laphroaig from Oloroso sherry cask with Laphroaig that has been matured in ex- American Bourbon Barrels. When the sherried, oaky flavours from the 2nd fill Europeon Oak Oloroso Sherry casks is mixed with the creamy, smooth, sweet flavours from American Oak Bourbon barrels, this forms Laphroaig 25 year old.

Bottled at 40% ABV, it is a perfect fusion of these two different styles of maturation flavours.

Laphroaig Triple wood

This particular whisky goes through a triple maturation in 3 types of casks. The first maturation is in American Oak, ex bourbon barrels, in small 19th century style quarter casks second maturation is done. The final maturation is done in selected Europeon Oak, Oloroso sherry barrels.

Laphroaig Px Cask

Px cask is the first which had maturation in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks, widely referred to as Px casks. Pedro Ximenez sherry is known to be naturally sweet made from dried PedroXimenez grapes. The maturation in the Pedro Ximenez cask provides the rich, sweeter and full bodied notes which perfectly compliment the peat smoke tang of Laphroaig.. This is currently available only on travel retail.

UNIQUENESS IN PRODUCTION

Source of water-

Their precious source water is the Kilbride stream. After the court case and all problems being created by Mackie and Co. in past they bought all the land adjoining the stream. In 1930's they constructed a dam creating Kilbride reservoir to have a continuous supply of water to the distillery throughout the year. The water used to make Laphroaig is mineral free and flows over peat, picking up some phenolics from the start. Of the entire world's water, the one which has the most popularity in the local whisky is found on Islay.

Peat Cutting-

As peat being the only fuel source available in abundance, the distillery has its own peat bogs and they still follow the traditional way of cutting peat by hand. Its important to keep the upper layer of peat back itself after cutting, so that it will be able to replenish itself overtime.

Islay peat is very unique and this is only reason of Laphroaig being smoky in taste. Peat available here is made up of plant matter- heather, mosses and lichens. This makes it of a different quality and flavourful peat altogether. It is the lichens that contain iodine into it which gives medicinal flavours that are a hallmark of the Laphroaig flavour profile.

Malting

The barley is soaked for two days in the steeps- with the water being changed every day to ensure purity and flavour. Then the water is drained off and the green barley is spread over the malting floors for malting. Today most whisky makers turn to commercial malsters to custom order their barley already germinated and smoked. Laphroaig is one of those left distilleries which still practice floor malting.

The barley shoots out as it would in the soil, through this the insoluble starch is being converted into a soluble sugar, creating enzymes.

One man lays the green barley and the other spreads it using a shovel. The colder it is, the deeper the deeper they lay the barley, to ensure correct germination temperature.

The process gives out its heat which they control by opening the windows and constantly turning the grain. A thermometer is kept in the barley, which is carefully monitored to ensure that the temperature remains constant.

Peat Kilns

The kilns used in Laphroaig are since 1840, they are still not being changed. The salty air is drawn off directly off the sea and mixes with the smoke from the peat which is cut from our own peat beds. The sweetness of the heather and mosses combined with the medicinal tang of lichens, this mixture gives it a unique smoke.

After 12-13 hours of heating the peat into kilns, the malted barley is fully peated. To complete the process the malted barley is to be brought down to 4.5 % moisture content, to stop the germination process. The uniqueness in their process is that they peat first and dry later, whereas other distilleries peat and dry at the same time.

Mashing

Now the malted grain is mixed, in the Lauter Tun, with warmed Laphroaig water at 67 degrees celcius. The sweet water called wort is then cooled to 200C and transferred to the wash backs for natural fermentation by the addition of yeast. They do not add any additives or other chemicals like other distilleries during ths brewing process except the baker's yeast.

Once the liquid reaches the alcoholic content of 8.5%, known as wash is transferred for double distillation in their "magnificent seven" stills.

Stills

All distilleries are aware of that the shape of their stills is one of the variables that affect the final flavour of their whisky. However some Islay distilleries have introduced larger stills to increase productivity and to reduce cost. But to retain the same flavour, distilleries like Laphroaig would reapir their old small pot stills and when they are worn out, it would be replaced by an exact copy.

Laphroaig's magnificent seven stills are unique by virtue of their unusual flat sides and base.

The spirit goes through two distillations. The first takes place in the wash still and takes the strength up to 22% alcohol, this is called the "low wines". Then the low wines are collected and is distilled for a second time in spirit stills. The spirit stills takes the alcohol content to 68%. They have the longest and latest cut and this gives it a unique flavour. If we taste this raw spirit, we can easily identify many of its characteristics.

After this it is time for maturation, this adds about half the flavour to their spirit which takes place in traditional oak barrels.

Cooperage

As the maturation stage is very important to develop the right flavour into the spirit, a traditional cooperage is being appointed by the at the distillery. Cooper ensures that all the barrels they use are in appropriate condition. The tools of this trade have not been changed over 100 years neither the art of barrel making.

Warehouse

Over 90% of their barrels are American white oak "first fill" bourbon barrels. Ian Hunter pioneered the use of these barrels in 1930's. He found that these barrel would give a perfect character for Laphroaig 10 year old. They also use the Quarter cask for the Quarter cask expression which was used in the early days of the distillery. Spanish Oloroso cask were being used. All these barrels lie sleeping for upto 30 years in their warehouses, gently breathing as they loose alcohol. When a particular barrel is judged ready it is taken to the mainland for its last part of its journey i.e. bottling and course drinking.

Consumption Pattern

In the eighteenth century whisky was not the preferred drink for the people of Scotland and England, Cognac and fine wines from France were more likely served at their tables.

But in 1863 an outbreak of phylloxera in France started to destroy the vineyards. The production of wine and more importantly cognac came to a halt. Customers had to turn to their home product.

As the British empire expanded its global reach, Scotch whisky went with it. In rapidly expanding and industrializing USA, drinkers also began to develop a taste for the slightly smoky whisky, despite America's own robust whisky industry.

20th Century

The first half of the twentieth century was vicious to the Scotch whisky industry. Llyod George, the first World War, the Great Depression, the Second World war and subsequent rationing - these all knocked many whisky-makers out of business. The darkest days were in the year 1943, when no scotch whisky was distilled at all.

During the war, Laphroaig distillery was commandeered as a military depot.

Scotch distilleries produced tens of million gallons of industrial alcohol for the U.K during both the world wars. Astonishingly, by the mid 1970's, over 26.5 million litres of Scotch were flowing into Japan each year.

While the Irish whisky industry collapsed from 65 to 3 operating distilleries between 1875 and 1975, the number of Scottish operating plants actually grew from 112 to 122.

Style of Consuming

Take it neat or with a splash of soft water. Roll it around your tongue. Release the pungent, earthy aroma of the blue peat smoke, the sweet nuttiness of the barley and the delicate, heathery perfume of Islay's streams.

Scotch distilleries expanded their plants to keep pace with the world's growing demand. Exports skyrocketed over the second half of the 20th century, from 25 million litres in 1950 to nearly 257 million litres in 2000.

MARKETING STRATEGIES

In 1994, Friends of Laphroaig club was officially set up. On joining the Friends of Laphroaig, each member is given their own lifetimes lease of a square foot of land on Islay, as well as being able to claim their 'rent' each year. Members of this remarkable club celebrated their 10th Anniversary on 30th March 2004. The club now holds 2,00,000 members from over 150 countries.

A special 11 year bottling for members was commissioned and was sold exclusively on the new website. Members were also given chance to buy Islay festival 17yo and first run 'Quarter Cask' bottling's.

In 2004, their own website www.laphroaig.com was launched.

In 2005, the Laphroaig marked its 190 years. The Friends of Laphroaig (FOL) get an opportunity to buy a specially bottled 19 year old cask strength and it will only be available on the website exclusively to the FOL and would not be sold at any shop.

Due to its labour intensive maturation process, a normal buyer cannot buy it from any whisky shop.

In 2007, Laphroaig started the concept of running a 45 minutes whisky show broadcast live on the internet. Today this eagerly anticipated programme is watched by tens of thousands of whisky fans around the globe every year. The first broadcast was held in London.

In 2008, on the second visit of HRH Prince Charles, the distillery launched the first Cairdeas Feas Ile Bottling. Cairdeas means friendship in Gaelic so it seemed an apt name to assign to the bottles that are only available to the FOL.

The Friends of Laphroaig liked the brand name Cairdeas so much that they decided to keep it for all friends festival bottling.

The Third "Laphroaig Live" broadcast took place in 2009 from Maker's mark distillery in Kentucky. They use the Maker's mark barrels for the majority of their maturation.

The Fourth "Laphroaig Live" took place in Germany on 27th Germany.

One of the distillery team member Vicky Stevens has introduced a range of locally produced items such as laphroaig scented soaps and are very popular.

FUTURE PATTERNS AND TRENDS

The category accounts for approximately 10% of the whisky market and enthusiastic consumers can buy single malts from over 100 distilleries. Many of them have shut down but their product is still eagerly sought by collectors worldwide.

The current trend in single malt scotch whisky is towards the peaty, medicinal style represented by the distilleries of Islay. The eight working distilleries on the island use varying proportions of smoky malt to produce their spirit, and since late 1990's consumer demand for this class of uncompromising whisky has resulted in a surge of sales.

Laphroaig is story of a community; an uncompromising, tough and determined group of people who work to ensure that this defining whisky has always remain true to its origins.

From the last 200 years, the distillery is trying to create what is considered to be the most distinctive single malt in the world.

The team members of the distillery change over time, but their traditional methods, ancient skills, and absolute dedication to quality always remains.

The three basic ingredients for making Laphroaig are barley, water, yeast and the quality of peat which gives it a special smoky flavour.


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