By Andrew Starke
Nearly 30,000 whisky fans across the world joined members of the Australian liquor industry, ‘Friends of Laphroaig’, bloggers and media at Laphroaig Live 2011.
The annual whisky program broadcast live from The Rocks in Sydney, the first time a Southern Hemisphere destination has hosted the event.
Laphroaig distillery manager John Campbell, master blender Robert Hicks and author Rebecca Varidel were joined on the panel by special guest Lin Johnston, the great-great granddaughter of Alexander Johnston, who founded Laphroaig with his brother Donald in 1815.
Johnston had the honour of opening and tasting a very rare bottle from one of the last batches ever to be distilled and bottled by her ancestors over 50 years ago.
Also in the tasting line-up were the full-bodied Quarter Cask, powerful Triple Wood and the uniquely-matured 30 Year Old Cairdeas, of which only 1,536 bottles were produced.
Whisky fans from all over the world logged on to watch the events as they unfolded in real-time.
Viewers were also able to join in the action by submitting questions through the Laphroaig Live website which were put to the panel by host, Channel Seven’s Simon Reeve.
In the spotlight: Simon Reeve with John Campbell, Robert Hicks, Rebecca Varidel and Lin Johnston
“The 1960’s bottle was definitely the unknown component of the evening, after being in storage for half a century,” said Campbell.
“I’m pleased to say that I was really happy with the flavours of the whisky which, together with the beautiful location on Sydney’s waterfront and the fantastic tasting panel, made this year’s Laphroaig Live a truly great event, and certainly worth watching again.”
Laphroaig’s first live whisky program was held in London in 2007 as a way of bringing Laphroaig and the Isle of Islay to the people who were not able to make the pilgrimage to the distillery.
This year’s live audience was filled with ‘Friends of Laphroaig’ from all over Australia, many of whom had won their seats by suggesting traditional Australian barbeque recipes that were marinated in a Laphroaig barbeque sauce, specially created for the event, and barbequed live on the night.
The broadcast can be watched by clicking here.