Many years ago when I learned to appreciate some of the peaty whiskies from the Isle of Islay, I realised that Laphroaig was by far my favourite. Later on in life I got to taste many more excellent whiskies from the island but Laphroaig always remained my dram of choice. I think it was 14 years ago that I signed up as a Friend of Laphroaig and that started my interest in the island. I can remember quite well that I bought a wee booklet in the FOL shop with the history of the distillery and more information on the island, and as soon as I started reading I knew I had to visit Islay and see where my beloved single malt was distilled and matured. This is of course not a unique story, many people learn about Islay through the best ambassadors Islay has, the eight whisky distilleries, however for me it was the spark that got my heart burning for this wonderful island.
My friends in the Netherlands always wonder about my passion for the island and its whiskies and last weekend a good old pal of mine came over on his motorbike to visit us at the beautiful Balaclava Croft to find out what Islay was all about. He arrived on Saturday afternoon at Port Askaig and the first thing we did was to take him to the American monument to enjoy the views over the Atlantic and the majestic cliffs at the Oa. For Sunday morning I had booked a tour at Laphroaig Distillery, knowing that he wasn't into peaty whiskies at all. However, as soon as we entered the visitor centre and were offered a dram, I knew he was "converted" as well. We joined James Deane for a superb tour of the distillery. James did a fabulous job and not only did he explain the process of distilling whisky in detail but he also talked about the highly interesting history of the distillery, something that is unfortunately often left out, although (whisky)tourists often like to learn how the distilleries made their way through past centuries.
After the excellent tour we were offered another dram, a Laphroaig quarter cask, and my friend was very impressed by the tour, the whisky, the atmosphere and the hospitality he received. He now not only shares my taste for whisky, but perfectly understands what keeps me and my family coming back to Islay. Later on when I went trough my emails I realised that we had joined the best whisky distillery tour in the world but to be honest, I already knew that from the start! And, referring back to the title of this article, I can assure you: Laphroaig was my first love and, yes, it will be my last.... :-)
Tag: laphroaig distillery