Pronounced “brook-laddie,” Bruichladdich sits close to Port Charlotte on Islay. Apart from a break in the 1920’s and 1930’s whisky has been produced steadily until 1983 when production ceased briefly. In 1985, the future looked bleak when the distillery’s owners, Invergordon, were taken over by Whyte and Mackay who chose to focus efforts on their flagship single malts, Dalmore and Isle of Jura at the expense of Bruichladdich. Thankfully the distillery’s future is brighter since its purchase by the whisky independent Murray McDavid in December 2000. Jim McEwan and his team have breathed life back into the place, with Islay’s first bottling hall also now installed. The whisky produced by Bruichladdich was traditionally one of the least peaty of the Islay malts, although ironically it is rated as the islanders’ favourite. Since 2002, three single malts are produced at the distillery: Bruichladdich of course, but also a peaty malt, called Port Charlotte and the earth shattering Octomore – the world’s heaviest peaty whisky. From May 2003 Bruichladdich is bottled at the distillery – the only Islay whisky that is distilled, matured and bottled on the Island. All Bruichladdich is bottled un chill filtered, caramel free and at 46%. Each bottling is a cuvée created by Master Distiller Jim McEwan. From 2004 Bruichladdich will experiment a 100% organic malt, produced from organic grown barley. All the whisky production is now retained for the distillery’s own use as Bruichladdich single malt.
Pale gold with creamy and silver glints. A field of barley just ripening. The bouquet shows smoke, peat, earthiness, sea air; a hint of nuttiness and stewed sticky fruit. A touch of caramelisation from oak char, a mildly acrid note; toasted cereal and, if left out a while, slightly sweaty socks! The palate shows more smoke, peat, pepper. It actually feels spritzy on the tongue or “petillant”, as our French wine cousins might say. There are roasted nuts and cereals, some oak char and a waft of oak vanilla. Long, smoky and toasty, warming, dry. A slight bitter nut aftertaste.