Laphroaig Distillery, Islay, Argyll and Bute

Colour photograph, 1999
Survey by RCAHMS

This is the interior of the Laphroaig Distillery's Still House. In the foreground are three copper wash stills where the first step of the whisky distillation process takes place. Each still is partially filled with mixture of fermented malt and water, then heated with steam coils. The crude alcohol vapour rises through the head and swan neck and passes into the condenser where it is cooled down and becomes liquid again, only to be passed onto the next set of stills.

Though the process varies little between distilleries, the local water gives each Scottish malt a distinctive taste. Islay Malts, of which Laphroaig is one, are often described as ‘peaty’.

RCAHMS undertook a comprehensive survey of distilleries in the 1970s and 1980s, at a time when many were modernising their buildings and enhancing their processes.