Laphroaig Releases Ian Hunter Book 3: Source Protector

by Phillip Galyean

Following the huge success and demand of both Ian Hunter Book One and Book Two, Beam Suntory’s Laphroaig® has announced the third installment in the fascinating Ian Hunter Series™, ‘Book Three: Source Protector.’ The 33-year-old non-chill ­filtered whisky is fully matured in ex-bourbon barrels, which allows the iconic peated characteristics of Laphroaig® to shine through and continues to honor the legacy of the icon and last founding member of the Johnston family to run the Laphroaig® Distillery. 

The Ian Hunter Story™ consists of five annual releases, set into beautifully crafted books that document the story of Ian’s incredibly rich legacy. Every year a new chapter is unveiled, uncovering the extensive history behind Laphroaig® and the characters who created it.

Following the success of the inaugural Book One: ‘Unique Character,’ Book Two’s ‘Building an Icon’ incredibly rare liquid quickly became a highly sought-after collectable last year from whisky enthusiasts all over the world. Book Three’s ‘Source Protector,’ the 33-Year-Old Vintage 1987 ex-bourbon barrel matured single malt, remains no exception. 

This collection is unlike any other and one that is sure to be treasured by passionate Laphroaig® connoisseurs across the world. 

Ian Hunter: Book Three 

Book One reflected on Ian Hunter’s formidable character. Book Two dedicated itself to the hours of tireless work Ian Hunter committed to the Laphroaig® brand whilst at the helm. Book Three charts the history of the Kilbride Stream, as well as Ian’s role in ensuring this source of raw beauty was protected, not to mention the crucial role it played in keeping the spirit of Laphroaig® alive. 

After a long running dispute, Ian took a case to court, before eventually scrambling to buy the land all the way up to the source of the Kilbride Stream, converting the distillery to steam and thereby ensuring that it was less reliant on water for power. The water was secure, and so was Laphroaig®’s future as a single malt. Ian’s legacy of protection has now passed on to the Friends of Laphroaig®, whose plots of land stand guard at the water’s edge. 

The 2021 release of The Ian Hunter Series™ is a 33-year-old non-chill ­filtered whisky with creamy licorice notes, fully matured in ex-bourbon barrels so the original character shines through. The third book of Ian’s story is dedicated to his tireless work in protecting what he believed was worth fighting for, and what consumers enjoy as Laphroaig® to this day.

“We are thrilled to share the release of Laphroaig’s newest expression and third installment of the rare and collectable Ian Hunter Story; the third book in our series pays homage to Ian Hunter’s unparalleled dedication to protecting Laphroaig’s lifeblood – it’s water source,” said Simon Brooking, Beam Suntory’s Global Scotch Ambassador. “The 33-year-old whisky matured in ex-bourbon barrels is a unique peated single malt whisky, making the release a wonderful addition to Laphroaig’s rich collection.” The limited-edition whisky has a SRP of $1,250. 

Official Tasting Notes 

COLOR:  Deep copper 

NOSE: Pears, peaches then apricots and lots of condensed sweetness open this delicious and vintage Laphroaig® up. Followed by notes of honey and rose petal, a dash of nutmeg, and ­finishing with ashy-dry peat. 

TASTE : A sweet, syrupy, fruity mouthfeel to start, it climbs and coats the whole of your palate. It dips to a huge second wave of aniseed, followed by creamy licorice notes. 

FINISH: A very long fi­nish with lingering, alternating ashy vanilla and peaty aromas. 

ABV: 49.9%  

The Legendary Ian Hunter At times polarizing but highly regarded and loved by those who knew him best, Ian Hunter is one of the most important figures in the history of single malt whisky. His influence on Islay – one of the most famous whisky-producing regions – cannot be overstated. Ian joined the distillery in 1908 as the youngest member of the Johnston family. His relatives, the brothers Donald and Alexander Johnston founded the distillery in 1815. His arrival had a lasting legacy on the distillery that is still used to this day, as he is credited with doubling the production and successfully exporting Laphroaig® whisky around the world. One of his biggest successes was managing to sell Laphroaig® to America during Prohibition. Ian managed to do this by leveraging the spirit’s unique character, which meant that it could be sold for medicinal purposes. 

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