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Bruichladdich distillery

Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Bruichladdich’s character is sweet, honeyed and floral with a lemon-butter note and an unmistakable freshness. Since 2000, however, other variants have been made – medium-peated Port Charlotte and heavily-peated Octomore. While both are defiantly smoky with plenty of rich, bonfire-like aromas, the inherent freshness and acidity of the distillery character is retained.

Experiments have also taken place with different barley varieties (including the archaic Bere) and a long-term project is currently under way, with local farmers once again planting the crop for the first time since the turn of the 20th century. More than 40% of Bruichladdich’s malting barley is now produced on the island.

In addition, an old Lomond still has been recommissioned and produces The Botanist gin, whose botanical mix includes herbs and plants from Islay.

Map
  • Region
    Islay
  • Production type
    Single malt
    Unaged spirits
  • Distillery Status
    Working
  • Brands produced here
    Octomore
    Port Charlotte
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Bruichladdich History

Bruichladdich may have been described as ‘a working distillery museum’, but in its day it was one of Islay’s most modern plants – and today is one of Scotland’s most innovative. It was built in 1881 by the Harvey brothers, who owned the Dundashill and Yoker grain distilleries in Glasgow. Like all of the late Victorian plants, its fortunes were inextricably linked to blends from the outset.

In 1937, the eccentric Joseph Hobbs (see Ben Nevis) picked it up, but by 1954 it become part of DCL, which quickly offloaded it to AB Grant.

In 1968, Invergordon – whose business was predominantly bulk supplies – became its owner and, after a period of reduced production in the 1980s, it became part of Whyte & Mackay’s portfolio through a merger in 1993. Deemed to be surplus to requirements, the Glasgow firm closed it down in 1995 and it remained silent until 2001 when a group of Islay landowners and a London-based wine merchant bought it for £6 million.

At this point the distillery was transformed. None of the previous owners had modernised the equipment and the new parents couldn’t afford a significant upgrade, so ‘the old lady of Islay’ was nursed back to health. The money was desperately needed elsewhere.

Years of producing bulk had resulted in a less than quality-oriented wood policy, which necessitated re-racking some casks into fresh wood, including a huge range of ex-wine and fortified wine casks. Further investment went into the building of the bottling line (which employs people from the island).

Experimentation and innovation continued – multiple distillates, gin, finishing, local barley – before in 2012 Rémy Cointreau bought Bruichladdich for £58m. This made investment in new plant and machinery possible, and in the intervening years additional warehousing has been built on Islay.

In April 2019, Bruichladdich unveiled plans to build its own maltings (although much of its barley is grown on Islay, currently it is sent to Inverness for malting). The distillery has also bought 30 acres of nearby farmland to conduct barley trials and test sustainable farming practices.

Timeline

  • 1881 The Harvey brothers, William, Robert and John, build Bruichladdich on Islay
  • 1937 Joseph Hobbs takes over
  • 1952 The distillery is sold to whisky broker Ross & Coulter
  • 1954 Bruichladdich becomes part of DCL's portfolio
  • 1960 AB Grant takes over operation of the distillery
  • 1968 Invergordon acquire the distillery
  • 1975 Capacity is increased from two to four stills
  • 1993 Bruichladdich joins Whyte & Mackay's portfolio
  • 1995 Distillery closed
  • 2000 The distillery is bought by Murray McDavid and permanently reopened a year later
  • 2006 The inaugural bottling of Port Charlotte is launched
  • 2008 The first expression of Octomore is released
  • 2012 French drinks group Rémy Cointreau buys Bruichladdich
  • 2019 The distillery unveils plans to build its own maltings on Islay, as well as acquiring local farmland for barley trials

Bruichladdich Facts

  • Capacity (mlpa) i
    1.5
  • Condenser Type i
    Shell and tube
  • Fermentation Time i
    75-80hrs
  • Filling Strength i
    68.5%
  • Grist Weight (t) i
    6.63
  • Heat Source i
    Steam
  • Malt Specification i
    Non peated (Bruichladdich), 40ppm (Port Charlotte) and 80+ ppm (Octomore)
  • Malt Supplier i
    Bairds
  • Mash Tun Material i
    Cast iron
  • Mash Tun Type i
    Flat bottom, open top
  • New-make Strength i
    68.5%
  • Single Malt Percentage i
    100%
  • Spirit Still Charge (l) i
    9,000
  • Spirit Still Shape i
    Plain, long narrow neck
  • Spirit Still Size (l) i
    12,500
  • Stills i
    4
  • Warehousing i
    Dunnage, racking, pallets
  • Wash Still Charge (l) i
    11,500
  • Wash Still Shape i
    Plain, wide, long neck
  • Wash Still Size (l) i
    17,500
  • Washback Size (l) i
    45,000
  • Washback Type i
    Wood
  • Washbacks i
    6
  • Water Source i
    An Toran
  • Yeast Type i
    Mauri and Kerry

Owners

Parent company

Current owner

Previous owners

  • Murray McDavid Whisky 2000 - 2012
  • Invergordon Distillers 1968 - 1993
  • AB Grant 1960 - 1968
  • Distillers Company Limited 1954 - 1960
  • Ross & Coulter 1952 - 1954
  • National Distillers of America 1938 - 1952
  • Joseph W Hobbs 1937 - 1938
  • Robert Harvey & Co 1881 - 1937
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Contact

Address
Bruichladdich Distillery
Bruichladdich
Isle of Islay
Argyll
PA49 7UN
United Kingdom
Website
Visit Website
Phone
+44 1496 850190
Visitor Opening Hours
Monday
9am to 5pm (Oct-Mar), 6pm (Apr-Sept)
Tuesday
9am to 5pm (Oct-Mar), 6pm (Apr-Sept)
Wednesday
9am to 5pm (Oct-Mar), 6pm (Apr-Sept)
Thursday
9am to 5pm (Oct-Mar), 6pm (Apr-Sept)
Friday
9am to 5pm (Oct-Mar), 6pm (Apr-Sept)
Saturday
9.30am to 4pm
Sunday
Closed

Map

See also

  • Octomore Octomore Octomore Brand

    Octomore

    The most routinely heavily-peated malt.

  • Port Charlotte Port Charlotte Port Charlotte Brand

    Port Charlotte

    A heavily peated single malt, distilled on the Isle of Islay at Bruichladdich distillery.

  • Freeport Freeport Freeport Distillery

    Freeport

    One of Islay’s lost 19th century distilleries.

  • Scarabuss Scarabuss Scarabuss Distillery

    Scarabuss

    A short-lived early 19th century farm distillery, located on Islay.

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