Laphroaig manager Iain Henderson takker af.
- Publiceret: torsdag, 5. december 2002 13:14
- Skrevet af Administrator
It is with not a little sadness that I am putting pen to paper, or more correctly, digit to keyboard, in writing my final letter as Manager of the Laphroaig distillery. I have been told many times that I have the best job in the world. I used to counter that by saying - "I have pressures like everyone else."
Now that I am retiring in the New Year, I realise that I was not being strictly truthful. Such is the pleasure I have derived from running the Laphroaig distillery, it has quite frankly, been 14 years of sheer enjoyment. One of the things I will miss the most is meeting and spending time with you and other Friends of Laphroaig. Learning where you come from, your interests, your first Laphroaig and so on. Did you know that the Friends
of Laphroaig will be ten years old in 2003? I-¢m sure my successor will be in touch in the New Year with information on the celebrations.
Of course I-¢ll miss Islay as well. Many of you come to the Island year after year so you know why. I see it in my own sons, who live away now, but still keep looking for excuses to come back at every opportunity.
There is some peculiar homing instinct that I have never seen nor felt anywhere else I have lived and worked. The word "ISLAYITIS" sums the feeling up very nicely.
I-¢ll also miss the unique camaraderie that I have with my fellow distillers on Islay. I know from experience that it does not exist anywhere else. What other industry shares visitors, spares, technology, raw materials and even labour if the need arises? I remember an occasion
when one of our neighbours had a new Fork Lift Truck and ours was waiting for spares. In the first month, we had more hours on it than they did. I will miss the guys and gals in the industry who have been part of my life
Naturally when you reach a certain age in life, you are often asked to reflect on your career. Amongst the most common questions I am asked is:
How did a marine engineer get into the business of making whisky?
For several reasons I suppose, not the least being that I have had a liking for whisky for many years. When I was circumnavigating the world as a sailor, I used to try every local spirit. And guess what? There are some terrible spirits around the world! I realised that in Scotland we made one of the most interesting and complex drinks ever. Also, whiskies have a sense of heritage and histories as subtly different as the flavours. I found that fascinating.
This year has easily been the busiest year for visitors that anyone can remember on Islay. It really started with the Third Islay Whisky Festival which has to be the biggest and most successful so far. The format was
similar to previous years in as much that each distillery was the centre of attraction for one day.
But because it was my last festival, instead of having just one day at Laphroaig, I conducted 2 or 3 tours every day from the Monday to the Friday. I enjoy meeting the people who brave the not so easy journey to Islay and during the period of the festival we had at least 1000 visitors.
There were so many people looking for somewhere to eat, that my wife ran a little cafe for soup and bacon rolls at lunchtime and tea and cakes in the afternoon.
If anything has ever been overtaken by its own success, the Whisky Festival has. Next year will be even bigger because Calmac are even now planning more summer ferry crossings to the Island. Plus Laphroaig will be
at Whisky Live (on the 7th and 8th of March) in the Royal Horticultural Halls in London. Visit www.whiskylive.com to book.
The search for my replacement continues apace. We are having a hard job, which I confess makes me feel a certain joy. I have come to love the Laphroaig distillery over the past 14 years and I like to think that, if I am not irreplaceable, then at least I am very hard to replace. I know that this place would never be trusted to any one who does not have the same exacting standards, so you can be sure that the quality of your Laphroaig
will never diminish. I wish whoever it is the best of luck.
I would like to thank all the Friends who have contributed to our Friends of Laphroaig website over the year. We now get over 10,000 visits a month from Friends all around the world.
A special thanks goes to all of you who participated in the many auctions this year. We-¢ve raised thousands of pounds for our nominated charities, which is fantastic.
Before I draw this little epistle to a close I would like to share something with you. Some years ago I received a little print of a shepherd in his cottage having a dram of his favourite malt. Guess what it is? The artist is Colin Carr from Grimsby and it has given me so much pleasure on my desk over the years. Thanks Colin.
All the best for the future to you all.