Rare bottle of Port Ellen whisky in charity auction

A rare bottle of Port Ellen whisky is being auctioned for two great charities.

Fred Laing, chairman of independent Scotch Whisky blender and bottler Douglas Laing, and Greg Dillon, founder of GreatDrams.com, competed on the squash court in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund and Ollie’s Army, a charity aiming to battle Batten’s disease.

The meeting was two months in the planning, in the whisky industry’s inaugural charity squash event.

Originally the prize if Fred won would be a Crunchie bar – his guilty pleasure – and the prize for Dillon overcoming Laing would be a bottle of Port Ellen from Fred’s personal collection, but they both agreed that regardless of the outcome the bottle from Fred’s collection was to be signed by each competitor and auctioned for the winner’s charity.

After a gruelling match Fred overcame Greg by three games to one, with each man clearly leaving everything on the court.

Fred said: ‘My dad, FDL, the company founder was an RAF man through and through, and when returned from World War II unscathed, the Scotch Whisky business became his focus.

‘We bottled a butt of Braeval back in 2013 with all proceeds going to the RAF Benevolent Fund, and now the company is seen as part of the RAF family.

‘We try to help this great cause, particularly in this, the RAF’s 100th anniversary year whenever possible.’

The RAF Benevolent Fund is the RAF’s leading welfare charity with a proud tradition of looking after its own. They are there for all serving and former members of the RAF as well as their partners and dependent children.

Children with Battens Disease cannot make an enzyme that is responsible for eliminating waste that builds up in the brain. Over time affected children suffer worsening seizures and progressive loss of sight and motor skills. Eventually children with Battens Disease become blind, tube fed, bedridden, and unable to communicate. Currently there is not treatment for Battens Disease. Battens Disease is, sadly, always fatal.

On why he chose Poynton-based Ollie’s Army, Greg said: ‘Batten’s is a devastating rare genetic disease, we have a little boy ourselves and the story of Ollie and his sister really touched myself and my family. No child or parent should have to suffer in this way, which is why we are not only supporting this great cause, but why I was willing to be flung all over the court by Fred in order to raise funds.

‘This was all about doing something a bit different for charity that utilises our passion for playing squash in order to raise much needed funds for these two great causes.

‘I cannot thank Fred enough for not only his, and his fabulous company’s support for GreatDrams over the years, but also for the generosity shown by donating one of his own bottles to be auctioned for the Ollie’s Army charity.’

The bottle of Port Ellen 34 Year Old, fresh from Fred Laing’s personal collection, and originally retailing at £1500, is from the legendary dead distillery of Port Ellen on Islay was distilled in May of 1982, before being charged from one refill hogshead cask – barrel DL#11481 – and bottled in November 2016.

To bid on the auction click  HERE.

If you would like to donate to the RAF Benevolent fund click HERE.

Or to support Ollie’s Army click HERE.