During our Islay trip in 2005 we had the pleasure to visit the Laphroaig Distillery on Islay. We had made reservations a few days before and the weather was absolutely gorgeous that day, and in fact the whole week, which is not unusual in the month of May. I believe it was seven or eight years ago that I first heard of the Laphroaig Distillery and Whisky by tasting their peaty malt during a nosing and tasting session. It was love at first taste so to speak and immediately my interest in the distillery and Islay was raised. I signed in as a friend of Laphroaig and received a certificate which stated that I now owned a square foot of land on Islay and could collect my rent, a dram of Laphroaig, once a year. At this very moment the Laphroaig Distillery has over 250,000 ‘Friends’ around the World from more than 190 countries! Imagine what happens if all these friends come over to Islay to visit their plot of land and collect their dram, and I know that quite a lot of them already did... In my opinion this is one of the best promotions Islay ever had and still has.
Back to the subject of this post. During our visit at the Laphroaig Distillery we met the Director from MacDuff International, a very friendly and charming man, and he was showing the distillery to a Japanese business partner and doing the same tour as we did. It comes as no surprise that we had a first class tour at Laphroaig which lasted almost two hours and we talked a lot about Islay's great malts and his company. MacDuff International, a Glasgow based company, was established in 1922 by Stewart MacDuff, Charles Murray and Ted Thomson. The company is all about Scotch Whisky and they currently export over 2 million bottles a year to over 50 countries. One of the blends they produce, blended by master blender Gilmor Bunet, is Islay Mist, which is based on Laphroaig single malt and other Highland and Speyside malts. This blend is classified as an Islay Whisky by Whisky Magazine. Islay Mist comes in three different bottlings; The Deluxe, which was the first whisky to bear the Islay Seal, an 8yr old and a 17 year old which was praised by Jim Murray calling it 'arms-behind-the-head, lean-back-and-close-they-eyes-stuff.. brilliant' getting the second highest score in a test with 2000 other whiskies.