2015 marks the 200th anniversary of Laphroaig Islay Single Malt Scotch, and to celebrate, we attended a private whisky tasting at Byblos in Toronto’s entertainment district on June 11th. The honoured guest of the night was John Campbell, Laphroaig Distillery Manager, and the first native of Islay to be appointed as distillery manager.

We began with some passed canapés, antipastos, and a sampling of the Duke of Argyll cocktail (recipe below). It was then on to a structured tasting session with Campbell. We sampled four different whiskies: Laphroaig 10 Years Old ($80.95), Laphroaig Quarter Cask ($72.95), Laphroaig 15 Years Old (200th anniversary special edition) ($185.95), and Laphroaig 18 Years Old ($165.95); prices are for 750 mL bottles. Of these, my favourite was the Laphroaig 18 Years Old, for its sweetness, chocolate and toffee accents, with hints of saltiness and smoke.

After a short break, we then headed to the bar area where we got a mixology lesson from three Vancouver bartenders, Lauren Mote, Danielle Tatarin, and Christina Kuypers. Mote is co-proprietor of Bittered Sling Bitters, and bar manager at UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar. Each of them demonstrated in turn how to make three classic cocktails made using the Laphroaig scotch whiskies – the Whisky Sour, the Old Fashioned, and the Rob Roy (aka Manhattan). We’ve provided the recipes below, so be sure to bookmark this page. The three women were beautiful and charming; engaging and capturing the attention of the crowd. One memorable quote from the night came from Tatarin. When asked her opinion of Laphroaig, she said, “Laphroaig is the only marriage I’m willing to commit to!”

To end the night, we had a tasting of the Laphroaig Cairdeas, which is exclusive to the Friends of Laphroaig club. The 2015 bottling is a special whisky produced at Laphroaig’s famous No1 warehouse by the sea, which is therefore Campbell’s representation of how Laphroaig was produced 200 years ago. This whisky is only available to the Friends of Laphroaig community, so it was a privilege to be able to enjoy it.

We had a great time at Byblos for the Laphroaig scotch whisky tasting. Congratulations to Laphroaig on celebrating 200 years! For more information:
Twitter: @Laphroaig #Laphroaig200TO #OpinionsWelcome
Instagram: @Laphroaig #Laphroaig200TO #OpinionsWelcome
Facebook: Laphroaig

Here are the featured cocktails of the evening:

– Shake, Ice, Collins –
1.00 oz Laphroaig Quarter Cask 0.50 oz Green Chartreuse
0.75 oz Lemon Juice
0.75 oz Sage Leaf Syrup
2 Dashes Bittered Sling Clingstone Peach Bitters
Top With Grace’s Gingerbeer Garnish With a Green Apple Fan

Whisky Sour

Whisky Sour

– Shake Dry, Shake Ice, Neat, Highball –
1.00 Oz Laphroaig Quarter Cask 1.00 Oz Knob Creek 9YO Bourbon 0.75 Oz Lemon Juice
0.75 Oz Simple Syrup
2 Dashes Bittered Sling
Kensington Aromatic Bitters
1 Egg White


Rob Roy

Rob Roy


– Stir, Ice, Old Fashioned –
0.50 oz Laphroaig Quarter Cask
1.50 oz Maker’s Mark Bourbon
0.25 oz Demerara Sugar Syrup
2 Dashes Bittered Sling
Kensington Aromatic Bitters
Garnish With an Orange Peel, Lemon Half Wheel and a Griotte Cherry

Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned

ROB ROY (aka Manhattan)

– Stir, Neat, Coupe –
0.50 oz Laphroaig Quarter Cask
1.50 oz Highland Park 10YO
0.75 oz Punt E MesVermouth
2 Dashes Bittered Sling
Kensington Aromatic Bitters
Garnish With an Orange Peel and Griotte Cherry

Photos by John Tan

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John Tan

John is an avid traveller, but equally loves being a tourist in his own city. With camera in hand, he enjoys discovering the sights, sounds, tastes, and everything else that Toronto has to offer. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram (@iam_johntan) to see what he's been up to lately.