Raymond Tibbs has worked at Bruichladdich for almost five years, guiding tours for holidaying families and aficionados alike, and helping run the distillery shop.
While a hugely popular member of the shop team with colleagues and visitors, last month he got the chance to travel abroad for the first time, and introduce his charismatic style, representing Bruichladdich on foreign shores.
During Raymond’s Sweden visit He journeyed to Stockholm to meet the ship MV Cinderella, a liner comfortably housing 2,500 passengers, and the venue for the Cinderella Whisky Fair, three return journeys to the Aland Islands in the Baltic Sea.
Raymond said: ‘I had no experience of a whisky event overseas so it was something of an unknown to me, but getting there was more stressful than actually working. I have been to large shows in the UK, and Festival day at Bruichladdich prepares you for anything!
‘When I arrived in Stockholm I noticed how pristine the buildings looked, it was a sunny day but the ground was covered with snow. It is a stunning city.’
Raymond continued: ‘On all the trips we were really busy at our Remy Cointreau stand, and with all the Bruichladdich malts and The Botanist available to taste and buy there was a lot of interest.
‘There can be a range of experience levels about whisky among visitors to Islay, but most people who visited us on the ship were very knowledgeable about Bruichladdich. There were lots of questions so the facts, figures and stories you acquire when working with the guys in production at the distillery really help you.
‘A lot of the time I was just talking to people at the festival, and that was good fun. A Scottish accent seems to go down well! Of course, once people start tasting, the liquid speaks for itself. The Octomore was very popular, as well as the PC12.’
Raymond also treated Laddie fans to a Masterclass, on the behemoth liner’s ninth deck.
The 24-year old will have made a great impression on Bruichladdich fans in Sweden but he was the one left star-struck after passing one of his sporting idols.
‘I met Glasgow Rangers footballing legend Fernando Ricksen at Schipol airport, a player I enjoyed watching many times growing up. He is an absolute hero of mine – he even gave me the “thumbs up” which was fantastic.’