The Bruichladdich Distillery

by Steve Forrester

The Islay’s Bruichladdich Distillery places the legacy and quality of whisky upon a pedestal. All its whiskies are sold as single malts. It is one of just eight distilleries on the Isle. The word Bruichladdich is Gaelic in origin and stands for ‘stony shore bank’. At the time of its construction, it was a state-of-the-art design. Taking a traditional approach, the distillery sources its raw materials from the Scottish countryside. The spring water that is used for the whisky comes from Octomore, the beautiful grains come from Rockside, and the most important ingredient - dried barley - is sourced from Octofad. In fact, the whiskies have been named to reflect this.

THE PERFECT MIX

The fact that the Bruichladdich Distillery is located in the Isle of Islay is of significant importance. Islay peat is perfect for making whisky. The climate is ideal as well. Operating since 2001, the distillery can be credited for the resurgence of whisky distillation in the region. It is also responsible for making innovations like zero-carbon, organic processes popular. In a region that is known for its unpeated whisky, Bruichladdich whiskies truly stand out.

The Bruichladdich Distillery is located in a Victorian-era building. It has a very efficient layout. This edifice was constructed solely for the purpose of brewing whisky. The building houses stills that are 6 meters high. All these stills are heated using steam. This helps enhance the purity of the distillate. Gravity also plays a vital role in the distillation process and the entire brewery has a sloping floor for this purpose. What’s more, the brewery also houses Scotland’s larges open-top mash tun. This brewery has escaped modernization and still uses most of the original equipment. All the barley used is exclusively Scottish. All these factors combine to make this a truly special place.

THE BLACK ARTS

The recipe for the Bruichladdich Distillery’s Black Art 4 single malt whisky is a closely guarded secret. That makes its exceptional whiskey a cryptic enigma. It is made using the very finest American and French oak thus exploring the mystical relationship between wood and spirit. It is a product of Master Distiller Jim McEwan’s dedication and vision. This bewitching spirit has a sensational texture and has been described as being sweet and fruity. It is also known to have layer upon layer of complexity. The lack of peat also adds to its fresh and floral texture. Another factor that contributes to its character is the fact that it is trickle distilled in Victorian stills. This is not an everyday drink, rather something for special occasions.

THE OCTOMORE

During a late night session, enjoying the fruits of labour - an idea was sprung forth. What if would happen if the worlds most heavily peated barley was distilled? The idea took shape in no time at all and a new started for peated whisky was born: The Ocotmore.

Almost annually Bruichladdich has released subsequent variations of the Octomore and at the time of this piece, the Octomore 7.2 was still the most heavily peated whisky in the world - coming in at a whopping 208 ppm (thats really, really smoky!)

THE BERE NECESSITIES

A traditional and ancient grain, Bere barley produces a very deep rounded flavour. Grown organically in the region of Orkney, it is sown in the spring and harvested in the summer. This light coloured grain makes Black Art 4 a drink for all occasions.

The all black packaging of the bottle adds a sense of drama to this fine whisky. There can be no doubt that this is certainly one of Scotland’s greatest artisanal whiskies and should be high up on the must-have list of any whisky connoisseur.  

We can wholheartedly recommend that you taste Bruichladdich




Steve Forrester
Steve Forrester

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