Ian, Derek, and 1881 other fans

"From the first time I walked through the doors at the distillery, I knew that this was my kind of place."

Ian Garratt has subsequently got to know us well at the distillery and now holidays on Islay every Easter with his family. Meanwhile, fellow Scot and whisky collector Derek Mather sports two Bruichladdich tattoos.

17 months ago, Ian and Derek started a facebook page called "Friends of Bruichladdich", which, with others like "Laddienerds of the World", we watch with interest from Islay! They state, "This is a group for people who drink, collect, critique, review, like, love and if lucky travel to, Bruichladdich. It is not a rose tinted view on Laddie. We accept that opinions may vary on products but most of all we appreciate the hard work and effort that the staff at the distillery put into their craft."

Derek Mather and wife Fiona are the proprietors of the Artisan restaurant and Laddie snug, in Wishaw on the mainland, which already has a large following on Facebook. They are the proud purveyors of Octomore BBQ sauce, which makes regular appearances at our whisky festival day in May, and has been seen as far afield as Bulgaria, the USA. France, Germany, Poland and Canada. The restaurant has a "wall of Bruichladdich" featuring more than 900 bottles, to which, Derek reveals, quite a few private cask owners have gifted a bottle. He adds, "We have loads of people travelling to the restaurant from all over the world as they think I sometimes get the new release Bruichladdich first - I wish that was the case!"

Requests to join the Friends of Bruichladdich group have been growing steadily and they had the idea that when they reached "the landmark number" of 1881 members (as that was the year that the Harvey Brothers built Bruichladdich) they should present that member with a special gift.

They soon found themselves with 5 such lots of special gifts. "We felt that the prizes were too good to give away for free," says Ian, "So Derek suggested that we should raise funds for the Bruichladdich charity of choice."

That charity was to be the Ciara Caskie Allan appeal, raising money for Glasgow Children's hospital, after local girl Ciara, aged 16, lost her life to a brain tumour. "We knew straight away that we had done the right thing. What an incredible young lady she must have been, our love goes out to her family and friends." They have now raised more than £3000 through auctions and the prize draw.

The prizes included Derek's own donation of 25 x 50ml samples from a selection at the restaurant, with which he wanted to "showcase Bruichladdich from the last 30 years - to show what excited me so much about the distillery, and the complexity of the whisky from Bruichladdich to Port Charlotte and finally Octomore."  There was also a hamper of memorabilia rounded up by Ailsa Hayes, of the distillery's Laddieshop containing: the proof plate of Infinity bottling; an original "Academy" bib n' brace & T shirt; a handmade wooden Bruichladdich quaich; a 200ml bottle of1989 Bruichladdich; a 200ml 2004 Port Charlotte in Mouton Rothschild cask; a 200ml 2005 sample from the last cask from the vatting of Octomore Comus.

Congratulations to the winners:

* Winner of Laddie hamper is Ruth Ashton-Ward
* Winner of dinner for two @ Artisan Restaurant is Colin Palmer
* Winner of Laddie Valinch is Craig Simpson
* Winner of Octomore Farm bottling is Lari Walston (Larry Watson)
* Winner of German Market Bruichladdich is Guy Dutton

Says Ian, "I would just like to say a special thanks to the people who donated items to the fundraiser, Islay's very own James Brown, Laddie's German product manager Lisa Marie and a friend of ours Kim Laulund. Also a massive thanks to our auction winners so far, Duncan McLean, Geoff Sarantos, Andrew Hackett, Mark Forssman and Ben Langmead, and all the generous folk that gave to this great cause."

We at Bruichladdich would also like to take this opportunity to salute the extended community of Laddies around the world, who tend to share our values and our tastes in whisky.

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