Whisky Review: Laphroaig Ian Hunter Book Two, “Building an Icon”

Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by Laphroaig. This in no way, per our editorial policiesinfluenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

I’ve been familiar with Laphroaig for while here. There’s been the super smoky to the various barrel finishes. This one I’m reviewing is a 30 year and is a second release as such. The Ian Hunter Book number two is also aged in Oloroso barrels. I hate to sound repetitive, but alas, that’s what it is.

“If you visit the Laphroaig Distillery today it’s clear to see the impact of Ian Hunter through the practices and innovations that are still followed,” said John Campbell, Laphroaig distillery manager, at the time of this whisky’s release. “For good reason Ian is credited as the pioneer and innovator of this incredible whisky.  Without Ian, the Laphroaig we know today would not exist, so we have much to thank him for. It is this legacy that we celebrate throughout the series.”

I’ll admit that I haven’t been that much familiar with the Laphroaig product lines for a bit. However, through a couple of tastings and whatnot, I have learned that their portfolio is quite extensive. Yes, there’s the smoke and peat. However, there are also the barrel finishes that add depth to the offerings. Delving deeper, there’s more to Laphroaig than meets the eye.

For this release it tells the tale of Hunter and his impact on the distillery, particularly of his time spent building the distillery and infrastructure. It is a higher end expression, pricing over $1,000 per bottle.

Laphroaig Book Two, “Building an Icon”

Laphroaig Ian Hunter Book Two, “Building an Icon” (image via Laphroaig)

Tasting Notes: Laphroaig Ian Hunter Book Two, “Building an Icon”

Vital Stats: 96.4 proof, 48.2% ABV. Vintage 1989. 30 year old Sherry cask single malt. prices around $1,025 USD.

Appearance: Deep red with brown hues. Lots of color given the age statement. In the glass, the legs were slow but even throughout.

Nose: Definitely that signature Laphroaig peat. However, it was also equally bright and oaky. At a guess, there was an element of lemon zest lingering in the background.

Palate: There was a lot going on with this one. Medium body and same for the finish. Certainly dry with a fair amount of smoke. One of the more interesting factors was a touch of fresh red pepper in the middle. With the addition of water, there was also a touch of green apple, but really subtle.

The Takeaway


I liked this one. A tad bit weird, but given the depth, it was really fun. However, at the sticker price, not sure what to say. It’s good, it’s great, but perhaps not at that price. It is worthy of having on your shelf for sharing, but not so much for just hanging out with your whisky.

User Review
2.67 (3 votes)


Kenji Mizumori

Kenji is a bartender in Portland, Oregon at the Pope House Bourbon Lounge. A bourbon enthusiast for decades. He likes big whiskeys, pretty much anything over 100 proof.