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Single Malt Ambassadors


The Diageo Port Ellen Distillery on the Isle of Islay was closed in 1983 but is understood to be preparing to reopen. check the link.

Brother Bass was an incredibly kind, joyful, and sweet man who was adept at seeing places where he could learn and continually educate and improve himself. I was personally blessed with being able to experience this through work, music, and single malts. He became a member of The KOTQ in 11Q2 and was a fervent member attending virtually every meeting. He understood the spirit of single malt scotch from the very get go and was an extremely valued contributor to our discourse and our overall membership. Bass joined the group for our 2016 trip to Las Vegas and played several jazz songs on bass, accompanying me on piano, during our pre-party event.

Brother Bass attended every single armoire night that I can remember and discovered Oban 18 at Bluff’s armoire night some time in the late 2010s. I believe it to be one of his very favorite single malts. During this past weekend’s KOTQ trip to Vegas, Bluff, Lakeview, Badger, Polo, and I learned of this tragic and horrible event and Bluff found a bottle of Oban 18 at one of the bars at our resort property. In a KOTQ-style tribute to Bass we decided to toast him with his favorite single malt, Oban 18.

Emptied Oban 18 tribute glasses to Brother Bass at KOTQ 22Q4 tasting in Las Vegas, Upside down and on their own black band in display of mourning

I leave this image in its full size to demonstrate the enormity of this loss to everyone who knew Brother Bass, and, quite honestly, the entire world is lessened without him. The emptied glasses are shown upside down, on their own black band, in a display of mourning.

He was a stalwart and a pillar of our group. His affable nature and interesting observations on all expressions will be evident in their absence at every meeting forevermore.

Rest in blessed peace, Brother Bass…

1) Robert Louis Stevenson the great author (‘Treasure Island’, ‘Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’) drank Talisker. From his poem “The Scotsman’s Return From Abroad” (‘Underwoods’, 1887):

“The king o’drinks as I conceive it
Talisker, Isla, or Glenlivet”

{Glenlivet made the list, most certainly, because it completed the couplet rhyme…}

2) The Talisker distillery has an oyster eating ritual, inspired by the belief that the gentle maritime notes of the whisky are heightened by the rich saltiness of the oysters!
a) Take a sip of Talisker
b) Eat the oyster (of which there aplenty on the Isle of Skye!)
c) Pour Talisker INTO THE SHELL and drink (for a REAL taste of the sea!)

3) Prior to Talisker’s inclusion as founding member of the Classic Malts Selection in 1998 (also before the founding of the KOTQ-Chicago in January, 2000) was predominantly on independently bottled 8yo. Upon establishment in the Classic Malts this was upped to a 10yo distillery bottling that we, essentially, take for granted as a bedrock of single malt expressions.

Dear Friends,

I am writing today because I wanted you to be the first to know that, after much thought, I have decided that the time has come for me to step down as Laphroaig’s Distillery Manager. For a long time, I’ve been travelling between Islay and the mainland to be with my family. Especially after the last two years we’ve all experienced, I’ve decided to make a permanent move to be closer to them and to take up a new challenge at an independent distillery company, so I will be relocating from Islay in mid-November.

As you can imagine, this was not an easy decision for me. I have been at Laphroaig for more than a quarter century, and I’m proud to have been the longest-serving Distillery Manager in its history. Following in the footsteps of legends like Ian Hunter and Bessie Williamson has been the privilege of my life.

More than anything, I would like to thank the Friends of Laphroaig for all your support throughout my 27 years at Laphroaig and my nearly 16 years as Distillery Manager.

It’s support that comes in all sorts of forms – from helping me grow the visitor experience at the distillery, supporting the creation of core whiskies in our range, sharing your ideas on what would make good Cairdeas bottlings, always being honest about how you would like Laphroaig to be. Over the years, we have created a Laphroaig tartan, celebrated together at our bicentennial events all around the world, sung with the Laphroaig choir, met on Islay at Feis, and throughout the year, and best of all, we’ve shared many drams of Laphroaig together.

Laphroaig is an amazing whisky and brand that has and will continue to be part of my life, just as Islay will. I will always remain a Friend of Laphroaig myself and will continue to come back to visit my plot and collect some rent.

I am also sure that thanks to your passion and loyalty, Laphroaig will remain the most renowned and beloved peated single malt on the planet and will continue to go from strength to strength. Over the next two months, I’ll be working closely with our expert Distillery team to hand over the reins and a new Distillery Manager will be announced in due course. I know you will welcome them with open arms, as you welcomed me.

It’s an honour to call myself a Friend, and I wish all of you the very best.


John Campbell, Distillery Manager
Photo of John Campbell, Distillery Manager