The Islay distillery Bruichladdich produces three single malt whiskies with different smoke contents. The bottlings with the name Bruichladdich are not peaty and are characterized by fine grain and gently aromas. Try the Bruichladdich Scottish Barley as an introduction to the range. Fans of smoky whiskies should opt for the Port Charlotte 10 year old.
“We are progressive, Hebridean distillers” - based on this self-image, Bruichladdich on the island of Islay creates a number of interesting single malt whiskies. Islay is part of the Inner Hebrides, a group of islands in the Atlantic on the north-west coast of Scotland. But much more important than that is the fact that the island has made a name for itself as a stronghold for whisky fans. Islay whiskies especially delight fans of smoky single malts. Bruichladdich is therefore astonished with whiskies that are mostly not peated.
What does Bruichladdich single malt taste like? The Whiskys from Bruichladdich are indeed not very characteristic of Islay conditions, as they are characterized by only a subtle peat. Your range of flavors is still large! Bruichladdich whiskies have a grainy, floral yet maritime character. The product range has been expanded considerably since 2006. Bruichladdich has been distilling under the name “Port Charlotte” since the heavily peated smoky whisky. In 2008 followed the first edition of the “Octomore”, an experimental extremely peated whisky. Since then, heavily smoky, massively peated whiskies have also been part of the range.
How is Bruichladdich whisky produced?Grain & Malting: Not only since the introduction of the Scottish or Islay Barley series has the barley been an important differentiating factor for Bruichladdich. “WE BELIEVE TERROIR MATTERS” is the distillery’s motto. In German, this means something like “We believe that the peculiarities or the nature of the cultivated area are important” - to our knowledge, there is no exact equivalent of the word terroir in German. In any case, preference is given to locally produced barley - in some cases the origin is also stated on the bottle. Around 30% of the barley used comes from the island of Islay itself. 5% of the barley is classified as organic barley. However, Bruichladdich does not have its own malting plant, although there are already plans for it - but no schedule to date. 60% of the production goes to the undistorted Bruichladdich. Around 30% is made up of Port Charlotte, and the remaining 10% is used for the super heavily potted Ocotmore. Here you have the extreme extreme with phenol contents of up to 309 ppm. For comparison: Islay Ardbeg Distillery generally uses barley malt with a phenol content of around 50 ppm.
Distilling: Bruichladdich works with five stills: two wash stills, each with a capacity of around 12,000 liters, and two spirit stills, each with around 11,000 liters. The shape of Bruichladdich’s stills is onion-shaped, but quite tall. In 2010, an additional Lomond Still was installed, which was previously at home in the Inverleven distillery. The new Lomond Still allows Bruichladdich to distil a softer raw brandy. Lomond stills were invented in the 1950s and allow the still to be adjusted by moving copper plates. So you can produce different whisky styles. The still is nicknamed “Ugly Betty” and is also used for the production of botanist gin. The annual capacity is 1,500,000 liters of alcohol.
Maturation: Bruichladdich has relatively flat warehouses, which were built from bricks. The climate on Islay is cold and humid, so the whisky matures very, very slowly. At Bruichladdich, people started using various wine barrels in large numbers for barrel maturation. The distillery’s publications were correspondingly varied for many years. This was not least due to the fact that Mark Reyniers, as a former wine merchant, had good connections to various wineries. Even after the distillery changed hands to the French cognac giant Rémy Cointreau, nothing changed.
At Bruichladdich we recommend “The Classic Laddie” Scottish Barley as an entry into the distillery’s standard portfolio. Another classic of the distillery is 10-year-old Bruichladdich The Classic Ten. We can also warmly recommend this high-quality Bruichladdich.
The other two smoky versions, Port Charlotte and Octomore, also each have a 10-year-old single malt as well as the Scottish and Islay Barley editions. The variants under the name Port Charlotte have the nickname “Heavily Peated” and are very smoky. As an introduction to the smoky whisky from Bruichladdich we recommend the Port Charlotte 10 years.
The distillery was founded in 1881 in the village of the same name, which in turn owes its name to its location: Gaelic “Bruach a ‘Chladaich” means something like “downhill bank” and describes the bank slope on which the village and the distillery lie. We owe the foundation of Bruichladdich to John, Robert and William Harvey. In fact, the distillery remained in the possession of the founding family for several decades until it was “mothballed” in 1929. After the reopening in 1938, several changes of ownership followed until Bruichladdich in 1975 became the property of the well-known independent bottler Whyte & Mackay, based in Glasgow. The joy lasted only briefly, because the distillery was shut down again in 1995. In 2000 she was sold to a consortium this time around Jim McEwan and Mark Reynier. The era of “Bruichladdich Distillery Co. Ltd.” began the success story of the distillery.
Since newly distilled whisky can only be designated and sold as such after at least three years of barrel storage, the consortium also acquired extensive stocks of older Bruichladdich casks from Whyte & Mackay in order to quickly establish itself in the increasingly interesting market for single malt whisky. The careful selection of the barrels by Jim McEwan made the distillery one of the most famous whisky distilleries on Islay today. The purchase price for the distillery and stocks is said to have been £ 6.5m. In 2003 further investments followed in their own bottling plant.
Bruichladdich is located on the north bank of Loch Indaal, a deep coastal cut on the west coast of the famous whisky island Isla. Until 2005 it was the westernmost whisky distillery in Scotland. Only the Kilchoman distillery founded this year is located a few kilometers to the west. The Bowmore distillery, from which Bruichladdich’s Master Distiller, Jim McEwan, also came, greets us from the opposite south bank. He was responsible for the popular creations of the distillery and, as he himself described it, managed “designer whiskies”. If you look at the premium whiskies under the name Octomore or the Black Art series, you can see why. McEwan announced his retirement in 2015. Since then Adam Hannett has been Head Distiller.
On July 23, 2012, it was announced that the spirits group Rémy Cointreau Bruichladdich and all associated stocks had bought up. With a purchase price of £ 58,000,000, McEwan and Reynier’s investment has all paid off.
|Name||Pronounced||AKA||Region||Country of Origin|
|Status||Active||Whisky Type||Website||Tours Available|
|Active||1881 - Present||Malt||Bruichladdich||Tour Link|
|Manager||Distiller||Blender||Owned by||Parent Group|
|Adam Hannett; Duncan Mcgilvery||Remy Cointreau|
1881: Distillery built by Robert, William and John Gourlay Harvey (of the Dundas and Yoker Harveys) with money from a trust established by their father, a well known distiller in Glasgow, under the style of Robert Harvey & Co.
1886: Reconstructed as the Bruichladdich Distillery Co. (Islay) Ltd. with Harvey family shareholdings
1929-37: The Harveys were forced to close the doors of their last distillery
1938: Sold to Hatim Attari, Joseph W. Hobbs and Alexander W. Tolmie, and passed then to Associated Scottish Distilleries Ltd. (ASD), subsidiary of Train & McIntyre Ltd., themselves owned by National Distillers of America
1952: Sold to Ross & Coulter Ltd., whisky brokers
1960: Acquired by A.B. Grant
1968: A.B. Grant sold the distillery to Invergordon Distillers (Holdings) Ltd.
1975: Extended from two to four stills
....: Bought by Mark Reynier (of wine merchant La Reserve) and ...
1994: Ownership to Whyte & Mackay
1995: Mothballed by Whyte & Mackay
1999: Owned by Jim Beam (JBB)
2000: Sold to a consortium of mainly local investors led by independent bottler Murray McDavid
2001: Distillery reopened
2003: Installation of own bottling line
2006-Feb-27: First attempt of a quadruple distillation
Can I tour Bruichladdich?
Yes Bruichladdich distillery is tourable. On Trip Advisor the distillery has been rated as excellent by 828 of 992 tours to date. This gives Bruichladdich an overall rating of 5.0
Great Shopping Experience by 875raymond
Enjoyable visit, despite access to distillery closed due to COVID restrictions. The staff in the shop were very knowledgeable and informative and took the time to chat about the whiskies available. Always a pleasure to visit.
Great Stop on the Grand Tour of Islay by Teamhendy
We were on Islay for a whistle stop tour of distilleries for my husband's 60th birthday. This was a good solid stop on the tour, engaging guide, loved looking round the barrel store with all the barrels with their histories and previous contents, the amazingly indescribable smell (good!) and don't forget to ask what the giant sponges are for (I couldn't have guessed). The Botanist Gin story adds an interesting extra dimension. There was somethings for everyone; husband and eldest loved the whisky tasting; youngest loved the cool merch (Octomore hoody is a great goth slouch) and the bucket of G&T she and the other whisky hater on the tour were served with fine gin and a good quality tonic put a big smile on her face. As driver, I could not drink whisky or gin, but as a closet botanist myself I was absolutely enthralled with the living wall growing down one side of the tasting room; it was all I could do to not nick a cutting or two. Tip for those with an early afternoon booking - pop next door to the minimarket, as advertised they do serve fine coffee and the toasties are fab!
Customer Friendly in Challenging Times (COVID-19) by Jon
Due to COVID-19, our booking for the Warehouse Tasting was cancelled. Although we completely understand, it was a huge disappointment. However, the communication was accurate and the paid amount was quickly refunded. We are looking forward to visit Bruichladdich in the near future.