The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2016

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Page 70 of 124

70  /  the tasting panel  /  december 2016 CAMPAIGNS Laphroaig's Master Distiller John Campbell. O pinions are abundant. Whiskies derived from peat. Laphroaig is hip- deep in opinions these days, courtesy of a clever and long-running campaign aimed at spreading the love of its particularly poignant peat and spanning PR, social and digital execution. Dubbed #OpinionsWelcome, it launched in 2014 and encourages whisky tasters to express their impressions of Laphroaig's bracingly smoky and peaty beverages that have made the brand world-renowned, and mostly revered, though sometimes reviled. To date, more than 15,000 people across 107 countries, including all 50 states, have weighed in. The Laphroaig website proudly displays them on the Opinion Wall. Among the classics: "There must be a doc- tor around here somewhere, because there's a hospital in my mouth;" "like drinking the sweet chewy smoke of a fine cigar;" and "Christine McVie's voice in a bottle: Stevie Nicks is down the road at Ardbeg." Laphroaig's Master Distiller John Campbell, a quietly reserved Scotsman born on the isle of Islay (and the first Ileach to become Master Distiller in Laphroaig's over-200-year history), has twinkly blue eyes and a warm, thoughtful smile. He laughs when asked why they launched such a daring campaign. "It's fun!" he says. "People just like to have fun with it." Plus he adds, "We embrace it. We are very comfortable with who we are." Shy Don't Be LAPHROAIG WANTS YOUR OPINION by Laura Ness

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