Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay.
IN the afternoon we returned to Bridgend, calling at Bruichladdich on our way, as previously arranged. When we neared the Lighthouse, which is built on the margin of the sea, about a mile from Port Charlotte, we obtained a fine view of Islay House, called by the natives the White House, surrounded by its magnificent policies and stately woods, also the ridge of low hills on both sides of Lochindaal, which are cultivated in fine arable slopes almost to the edge of the sea. Day by day, as we get better acquainted with this fertile and interesting part of the island, we are convinced that it well deserves the appellation of the “Queen of the Hebrides.” Bruichladdich is quite an aspiring and tastefully built village, and is planted on one of the finest and most healthy spots in Islay. The Distillery, which is two miles from Port Charlotte and six from Bridgend, was built in 1881, covers a little over two and a half acres of ground, and faces the sea It is a solid handsome structure in the form of a square, and entered through an archway, over which is a fine stone-built residence for the use of the partners when staying on the island.
Our inspection of this Distillery commenced at the Barley Lofts, two in number, both very spacious and airy, built above the Malting Floors, which in their turn are built over Bonded Warehouses, in one case of two storeys, and in the other of one. The barley, which is hoisted to these lofts in the usual manner, is thus conveniently placed for filling into the Steeps, which is effected by gravitation through iron shoots, which deliver it from different parts of the lofts.
We next visited the Malting Floors, which are laid with tiles, and connected with the Kiln by gangways, over which the malt, when ready for drying, is carried in bags. When dried it is placed in the Malt Deposit Room, situated immediately over the Mill House, and after being ground in the Mill, the ground Malt is conveyed by a long Elevator to the Grist Loft, which is in the distillery buildings proper, and commands the Mash Tun, to which it is supplied through a Mashing Machine, in which the grist is mixed with hot water, thus obviating any dust rising in the Mash House, and facilitating the mashing process. The Mash House itself is a fine high room, containing a Mash Tun, 16½ feet in diameter by 6½ feet deep, the stirring gear of which, as indeed all the other machinery in this Distillery, is worked by a powerful steam engine, situated in the courtyard. There are also in this room two Brewing Tanks, an Underback, an intermediate Cooler, and a Morton’s Refrigerator. The cooling of the worts in this machine is effected by cold water supplied from a large reservoir far up amongst the hills, and from thence conducted in pipes, and is of sufficient pressure to rise to the Brewing Coppers, into which it flows at a high temperature, thus materially reducing the time and cast otherwise necessary to boil the water in these Coppers for mashing purposes. The worts, after passing through this refrigerator, run by gravitation to the Fermenting Backs, which consist of six large Tuns, situated in the adjoining Tun Room, each capable of fermenting 7,000 gallons; the fermentation completed, the Wash is pumped to the Wash Charger in the Still Room, and thence supplied to the Wash Still. In this Still Room, which is particularly cool and clean, all the firing of the Stills being done from the outside, there are two Stills, both heated by fire, capable of running over 3,000 gallons of spirit per week, besides the usual Feints and Low-wines Receivers and Chargers, and Spirit Receiver. From the Spirit Receiver the Whisky is run into a large vat in the Spirit Store and from this filled into casks for bonding.
The Distillery having been completed all at one time the buildings are more distinct and separate than in some of the other large works, where many additions have been made, the Malt Barns and Bonded Warehouses being entirely separate from the Kiln, Mill and Engine Room, as also from the Distillery buildings, thus insuring the greatest possible security against fire for the Whisky lying in Bond. Round the yard are six Warehouses, covering 30,000 square feet, all with good head room. The water used in the Distillery is brought from a reservoir in the hills, and is said to be of good quality. The make is Islay Malt, and is shipped to Glasgow by the steamers which leave the quay every Tuesday. Mr. Henry, the manager, resides on the premises. The annual output is 94,000 gallons.