By Martin Graham
FORMER NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson visited Islay yesterday (Mon) to sample a special batch of malt whisky which will be sold to raise funds for charity.
Lord Robertson, originally from Port Ellen on the island, signed over 200 bottles of Ardbeg whisky which will go on sale from Wednesday at the distillery visitors centre and the company’s online shop, priced at £220 per bottle.
The bottles come from a special cask, number 1217, which was dedicated to Lord Robertson when he visited the distillery in 2000, when he still held the post of NATO Secretary General .
Lord Robertson said: “I visited the Distillery 10 years ago to receive this cask and I am proud and delighted that this special Ardbeg bottling will be sold in aid of Erskine”.
All proceeds from the sale of the special bottles will be donated to the veteran’s charity Erskine to support their work.
Erskine was founded in 1916 and has provided nursing and medical care for former members of the Armed Forces through two world wars and more recent conflicts, including Iraq and Afghanistan.
The charity helps over 1300 ex-service personnel every year and offers first class care and support to veterans and their families.
Erskine works closely with the Ministry of Defence to support recent veterans, many of whom are still serving officers in the armed forces.
Erskine’s chief executive Major Jim Panton said: “On behalf of all our veterans I thank Lord Robertson and Ardbeg for this unique and very generous donation.
“As a charity we rely heavily on voluntary donations, without them we would not be able to offer the high standard of care for which we are renowned.
“I hope that people will enjoy this fabulous Islay whisky in the knowledge they have supported a valuable cause.”
Erskine operates five homes for ex-service personnel across Scotland.
The Ardbeg distillery was founded on Islay in 1815, and faced tough times in the 1980’s and 1990’s before being bought by Glenmorangie in 1997.
It is now part of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) luxury goods group.