WhiskyFest San Francisco Speaker John Campbell
For Islay whisky enthusiasts who may not know, John Campbell is a native of Islay (Ileach). Therefore it was hugely well received when John Campbell was named Laphroaig’s new distillery manager. Not only is this good news for John, but also for the island, as John’s was the first Ileach to ever run the distillery in its 200 year history.
This appointment fulfilled a 12-year ambition for John, and he has now been in the role for over 10 years. Since joining Laphroaig in 1994, John has succeeded in all roles within the distillery process.
In July 2001 John returned from a 7 month spell in Speyside to take up the post as Laphroaig’s assistant manager and has helped in introducing things such as the Cairdeas bottling for friends of Laphroaig, and to support the ‘Feis Ile’ (Gaelic for Islay Festival).
In addition to his role as Distillery Manager, John plays a lead role in promoting Laphroaig around the world. This includes running the distillery’s “Friends of Laphroaig” program, which today boasts over 750,000 strong membership from over 160 countries. John Campbell grew up in the shadow of Laphroaig, and now, he’s running the distillery!
The Laphroaig single malt is perhaps the most well-known of all the Islay whiskies. The distillery is located on the coast of Islay, about a mile from Port Ellen. It has always been, and probably always will remain, the most controversial single malt. Laphroaig Distillery was established in 1815 and still owns its own peat moors and produces malted barley in its own maltings. Its whisky maturation warehouses directly face the sea, which contributes to the very characterful whisky it produces.