Unusually for Islay, Bruichladdich's classic whisky is a light, unpeated dram with sweet fruit, salt and meadow flora. Their heavily peated whiskies in the classic Islay style are distilled and bottled under the Port Charlotte name, and they even produce the peatiest whisky ever; Octomore. Experiments with changes in their maturations, finishes and processes have created well over 100 different editions so it is difficult to talk about a house style but we love to see what they get up to.
Bruichladdich is like taking a step back into the 19th century. The mill used to grind the barley is the only working Bobby Mill that still runs on a belt driven system. Where the grist is taken by conveyor belts or archemedes screws in other distilleries, Bruichladdich still move it from the milling room by wheelbarrow. With the increasing modernity of distillery processes, Bruichladdich has been described as a 'working distillery museum'.
Bruichladdich, like many distilleries, has had its share of closures and changes in ownership. After a series of company mergers, in 1995 the distillery was filling for bulk stock requirements only until it was eventually shut down by White & Mackay because it was considered surplus to requirements. Only in 2001 did it find a caring owner in Murray McDavid, who had requested to buy the distillery every year for close to a decade before finally closing a deal of £6 million for the distillery with its stock. Unfortunately, he did not have enough money to renovate the distillery, so bringing it back to life was a slow process.
Because of the bulk stock production at the end of its previous life, Bruichladdich's cask selection standards had been very poor, requiring a lot of whisky to be re-racked into a whole range of newly bought casks. This is the main reason for the astounding number of interesting and limited releases that Bruichladdich have released in recent years. After building up the Bruichladdich name and introducing the peated Port Charlotte and Octomore brands, McDavid struck a deal with Remy Cointreau to sell the business for what seemed like the incredible sum of £58 million. In just 11 years, the value of Bruichladdich had increased almost 10 times over.
Under ownership of Remy Cointreau, the distillery has the resources to finally carry out some well earned renovations. They have settled on a more consistent and settled range, which includes the amazingly popular gin, The Botanist.
When Bruichladdich Distillery was brought out of mothballs, it was Mark Reynier who led the charge and he came from a solid background of wine. Pretty soon, visitors to Islay started to see some prett...
This is the 2010 vintage of Bruichladdich's 'Barley Provenance' Series focusing on Bere barley sourced from Orkney. Bere is a hardy and resilient grain, adapted to poor soil conditions and has a short...