Peter Roberts bought a barrel of Bruichladdich when the distillery reopened in 2001. The spirit was put into a fresh sherry cask on September 19th 2001 and bottled 10 years later on September 23rd 2011. His label features one of our iconic ...Islay birds, the Chough. Peter, who lives close to the distillery, tells us: "The whisky is absolutely gorgeous, and it is one of life's little perks and delights to have so much of it that I can take a bottle with me on my travels guiding people on worldwide birdwatching tours - just in case there is a need for a special celebration.
"I recently arranged a tour to Ghana for a group of eleven of us including my partner Pia - all keen birdwatchers prepared to put up with the intense heat and humidity of West African tropical forests, the dodgy accommodation, poor roads and boring food in order to find amongst a good range of interesting birds ("interesting" for a birdwatcher anyway!) 1-2 very special species. One of our "target birds" for this tour was the Rockfowl or Picathartes.
"The Rockfowl is up there in top eschelons of rare, obscure and "must see" birds for keen birdwatchers. They make swallow-like mud-cup nests on rock faces within remote forests, gaining them "mythical" status to the cognescenti - and definitely something worth celebrating once seen.
"My group (including one man in his 80s) hiked about an hour and half into the forest with excellent guides from the local village. Soaked in sweat, we sat still and quiet as dusk fell to await the Rockfowl's return to the overhanging rocks where they roost. We were not disappointed. We had great views of five of these bizarre, lanky, black and white birds with bald heads (see photo).
"After the exhilaration of finally seeing this creature, we stumbled back through the forest in the dark and drove a couple of hours to our hotel for the night. This was exactly the special occasion that warranted the enjoyment of a bottle of my own 10 year old Bruichladdich Single Malt!"