His Royal Highness The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, today visited the world famous Laphroaig Distillery on Islay in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the brand. Laphroaig, owned by Beam Suntory, is the only Single Malt Scotch Whisky to bear a Royal Warrant and is known to be a firm favourite of the Prince, who led a toast to the anniversary by raising a dram of limited-edition Laphroaig 15 Year Old Single Malt.
The visit is the third that the Duke has paid to Laphroaig over the last 25 years. The Royal Warrant was bestowed personally when he visited the distillery in 1994, and he returned as part of his 60th birthday celebrations in 2008.
The Duke, who in Scotland uses his official Scottish title the Duke of Rothesay, was hosted by John Campbell, Distillery Manager of Laphroaig, Patrick Loudon McIain Stewart, Lord Lieutenant of Argyle & Bute and Mick Ord, Director of Scotch and Irish Whiskies at Beam Suntory. During the visit, he met a number of Laphroaig employees, filled, bunged and signed an ex-bourbon cask and was given a tour of the distillery. He also unveiled a plaque in the Friends of Laphroaig’s field to officially open a cairn (a traditional Scottish monument made of rough stones) commemorating the 200th anniversary. At the end of the tour, the Prince was presented with gifts, including branded ‘Friends of Laphroaig’ wellington boots and bottles of Laphroaig 15 Year Old.
The Duke’s visit also marks the launch of The Laphroaig Legacy Fund, a charitable initiative aimed at supporting Islay’s people, community and environment in 2015. The Legacy Fund has been created to both celebrate the distillery’s past and help to secure the future of its community by supporting local projects and businesses that are promoting the sustainability of Islay living. This year, bottles and casks of 40 Year Old whisky signed during the Prince’s last visit will be auctioned to raise money for the fund. A corporate donation from Beam Suntory and £1 donation from every bottle of Laphroaig 21 Year Old and Cairdeas sold through the Laphroaig Visitor Centre and Online Shop in 2015 will also be put towards the fund. Following an application and selection process, a series of targeted grants will be issued to the successful beneficiaries; these could include community projects, environmental sustainability programmes or initiatives that enhance the skills sets of islanders.
Laphroaig is also celebrating its 200th anniversary with limited edition commemorative releases of Laphroaig 15 Year Old, Laphroaig 32 Year Old, and Laphroaig 21 Year Old.
John Campbell, Distillery Manager of Laphroaig, says, “We are absolutely delighted to welcome the Prince back to Laphroaig to commemorate what is a momentous year for our distillery and brand. We are extremely grateful for his ongoing support over the years, which has helped enable us to preserve the unique heritage of the Scottish whisky industry and to give back to our community. Our 200th anniversary is an opportunity for us to continue to support the region through The Laphroaig Legacy Fund, celebrate our position as an integral part of the local economy, and help ensure that the community of Islay can prosper into the future.”