Laphroaig® recently released a super-premium 25-year-old whisky, which celebrates the life of Bessie Williamson, an icon of Laphroaig® and the first female distillery manager to own and run a Scotch whisky distillery in the 20th century.
This unique and exclusive bottle, called The Bessie Williamson Story™, is a tribute to Bessie and her work at Laphroaig, along with her warm, rich and unmistakably-Islay character.
Williamson was born in Glasgow in 1910 to John Williamson, a gunner in France with the Royal Garrison Artillery and Agnes Whyte. She attended the University of Glasgow from 1927, intending to become a teacher, graduating in 1932.
After graduating in 1932, Bessie accepted a summer job at Laphroaig distillery intending to stay only a few months. She worked directly with then owner Ian Hunter, eventually taking on responsibility for US distribution. By World War II, she had become the full-time distillery manager and the most senior woman in the Scotch industry.
Bessie was an early proponent of single malt scotches who played a pivotal role in positioning Laphroaig, and by extension other Islay malts, for the American market. The Scotch Whisk(e)y Association named Williamson as its American spokesperson from 1961 to 1964 and she toured the US representing Islay whisky to buyers and distributors.
The Bessie Williamson Story™ is presented in a beautifully crafted book that details Bessie’s story in depth, and includes tasting notes and a message from John Campbell, Distillery Manager.
Laphroaig is a globally recognised whisky thanks to Bessie,” John said. “It is well documented that Bessie was universally loved and respected by her colleagues at Laphroaig and the people of Islay. It is this aspect that we celebrate with this whisky, remembering her as a true icon of Laphroaig.
Laphroaig 25 Year Old The Bessie Williamson Story is available exclusively in Global Travel Retail.
Laphroaig (La-'froyg) literally means "the beautiful hollow by the broad bay." Born from the streams and blue peat smoke of Islay, Laphroaig is a Single Malt Scotch Whisky with a distinct taste and story in every bottle. The secret to Laphroaig is that it benefits from the happy circumstances of where it is produced—next to ocean water and on land that gives Laphroaig a unique peaty taste. It is one of only a few distilleries that still uses traditional malting floors and dries and infuses its own malt with the thick blue smoke from old peat-fired kilns. It's also the only Single Malt Scotch Whisky to bear a Royal Warrant bestowed by HRH Prince Charles.