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Legendary distillery: Bruichladdich, the Scottish terroir

02/02/2022

Bruichladdich built his young legend in another way! Located farther north than the Kildalton Quartet, Bruichladdich has been peacefully settled since 1891 on the banks of Loch Indaal, the inlet separating it from Bowmore.

Until 1994, Bruichladdich was rather confidential and not necessarily recognized for the quality of his cousins in Islay. At the beginning of this new millennium, Mark Reigner (businessman in the world of wine and passionate about whisky) and Jim Mcewan (former master distiller at Bowmore) relaunched the distillery and made it one of the most fascinating and excellent in Scotland to see the world. Bruichladdich, pronounced “Bruck-laddie” is now the “laddie” of Islay, literally the “little guy”. The little guy full of energy, ideas, but attached to his past and origins…

Bruichladdich today is:

  • The 1st European distillery to obtain B Corp certification, for its level of social and environmental performance
  • 4 brands: 3 Single Malts 100% imagined, distilled, aged and bottled on the island of Islay.
        - Bruichladdich: unpeated whisky, with floral notes
        - Port Charlotte: whiskey giving off a finely peated marine bouquet
        - Octomore: the most peated whiskey in the world otherwise nicknamed world champion of peat
        1 Gin: The Botanist, obtained from a slow and artisanal distillation of 22 wild and local plants, all hand-picked on the island of Islay by James Donaldson, botanist picker, then infused
  • 1 Master Distiller: Adam Hannett, since 2015 and who succeeded Jim Mc Ewan
  • With 80 employees residing on the island, Bruichladdich is the largest employer on the island of Islay
  • 42% of barley is grown on Islay
  • the concept of terroir for the first time in the history of whiskey
  • The invention of Octomore, the most peated experimental whiskey in the world
  • Casks from all over the world
  • A respect for traditions in the production process while being at the forefront of aromatic ideas and innovations

The distillery highlights the terroir, something rare in whisky. Indeed, the fermentation, distillation and ageing process largely eliminates the intrinsic aromas of barley. Bruichladdich on small vintage editions manages to show the aromatic character of Islay barley. This character is more powerful, and malty, more iodized, Islay barley grows in a difficult environment, beaten by winds and spray. In addition to this notion of soil, Bruichladdich plays the climate map. The distillery is one of the few in Islay with Kilchoman to age its entire production on Islay by the ocean. The maritime impact is here total…

3 expressions to discover or rediscover Bruichladdich 

Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2012 70cl 50°

The identity card of the distillery. Not peated, made with barley from Islay, aged in 75% bourbon cask and 25% in wine barrels. Made from barley grown exclusively on the Isle of Islay from 8 identified farms: Coull, Rockside, Sunderland, Island, Mulindry, Starchmill, Cruach and Dunlossit.

Bruichladdich Islay Barley

Port Charlotte 10 Years Old 70cl 50°

THE universal peat par excellence! Earthy, oily, fruity and iodized… between greed, balance and power. If you hesitate between a Lagavulin 16 and a Ardbeg 10, try Port Charlotte 10!

Port Chralotte

Octomore Cask Strenght… any one !

On paper the number of PPM (the phenols that characterize the peat level of a whisky) rises to nearly 300PPM for some expressions! 5 to 7 times more than Lagavulin, Ardbeg or Port Charlotte… In the mouth it is another story, yes the peat is very present, yes the whisky is young and explosive. But what a balance, what a paradoxical finesse! The art of creating the most extreme whisky in the world, and making it accessible. The production processes are well kept secret but some rumors speak of a partial triple distillation, as for the Irish and their fine and fruity character. The barrels used are also very active, and come greatly participate in calming the whole.

Octomore

Once again Bruichladdich gives pride of place to traditions and a process of production that is pragmatic, logical, common sense, but at the service of their wildest ideas….

And to go further

Discover the Bruichladdich range >>

Discover other legendary distilleries through the story of our whisky expert at the heart of the distilleries The BalvenieGlendronach and Lagavulin.

Article written by Quentin T.

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