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Ep. 63 - John Campbell Talks Laphroaig Peat to Lowland Whisky at Lochlea

SCOTCH DISTILLER LEGACY SERIES // From lobster fisherman to manager of a storied Islay distillery to charting a new course for Lowland craft whisky at Lochlea.

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Show Notes

Not long ago I had a chat with Jeff Arnett, who left the distillery that makes his favorite, Jack Daniel's to start his own Company Distilling. Around the time of that interview I heard the news that John Campbell was stepping away from Laphroaig after a 27 year career to move to the Lowlands.

Was I dreaming? Was this real? I caught up with John at his new distilling home of Lochlea and we talked about Robert Burns, Islay vs Lowland, and the importance of feeling you don't know all the answers.

Here are some subjects John and I will talk about:

  • The career before Laphoraig
  • From painting numbers on the barrels
  • Distillery manager turnover and working his way up
  • Introducing more expressions to the portfolio including Cairdeas
  • The job of a distillery manager
  • Working with casks between Laphroaig and Lochlea
  • Holding the torch vs starting the fire
  • PX Cask and other releases at Lochlea
  • A working farm at Lochlea
  • 40% vs 43% ABV Laphroaig
  • The more educated consumer
  • Who does the distiller pay attention to?
  • A good slap in the face
  • The owl
  • Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Lagavulin
  • The experience at Mount Vernon
  • Living in Glasgow rather than Islay
  • Finding Lochlea
  • Feeling like you don't know the answers
  • The changing Lowland narrative
  • The farm to glass movement
  • Lochlea's relationship to Robert Burns
  • A Dr. Jim Swan distillery
  • Releasing your baby to the world
  • Is age a guarantor of quality?
  • Not licking the table
  • The first release from Lochlea and its tasting notes
  • Experiments
  • Single pass distillation
  • Hopping on the tractor
  • Being a Swiss army knife

Listen to the full episode with the player above or find it on your favorite podcast app under "Whiskey Lore: The Interviews." The full transcript is available on the tab above.

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