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 oak in colour. The bouquet shows a fresh, malty, zingy, citrusy start to this, but it settles down into a creamy and custard flavour. The one of the most complex young whiskies, this. The sweetness isn’t overwhelming, which leaves, for a bunch of very tightly packed flavours that just need time to pick apart. Vegetative. Oily, though not too thick. There’s a hint of some woody mustiness which is fascinating. This is definitely the most introverted of the series, and it is one to dwell on. A social dram, perhaps, but equally good by the fire as you consider some curious aspect of a far-away Scottish island.