A small distillery with a big heart and a keen passion for the environment has been making waves on the Isle of Islay, on the ‘whisky coast’ of west Scotland.
Since Bruichladdich’s resurrection in 2001, the distillery’s ambitions have gone beyond the simple idea of making and selling single malt scotch whisky. Their goal was to be an antidote to the industry norm.
This was done by reconnecting the land and the dram, re-evaluating the prescribed ‘rules’ of the industry, questioning where flavour comes from and understanding why agricultural ecosystems are important. This was a journey that would go on to inspire an army of distillers and drinkers across the world.
The natural evolution of this outlook is ‘We Also Make Whisky’, an international campaign designed to showcase the difference that can be made when looking beyond profit, to a more holistic approach. Bruichladdich Global Marketing Manager, Lynne McEwan explains; “Over 20 years we have seen the difference business can make when decisions are based not only on profit but on making a positive impact for both people and planet. Having resurrected Bruichladdich in 2001 we started with 2 people and are now the largest private employer on the island, 52% of our barley needs are grown on the island and all our whisky is distilled, matured and bottled on site, regenerating our community with opportunities far beyond whisky making. There is always more to be done but leading with our values is key to the Bruichladdich philosophy and we are delighted to have a campaign that brings this to life in a way that is disruptive, engaging, and positive”.
People and planet
This commitment to the environment, including the people in it, has earned Bruichladdich a prestigious B Corp certification. There are currently only six distilleries globally that have achieved the status, some making vodka or rum, others limoncello or gin, with Bruichladdich being the only whisky and gin distillery in Europe to meet the stringent standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.
Set up in 2006, the B Corp certification process was organised to help mission-driven businesses protect and improve their positive impact over time. Highlights that have helped Bruichladdich to achieve their certification includes benefit packages to staff, as well as being a diverse employer. Notably, it’s the distillery’s progressive attitude towards its community and sustainability which has helped it qualify.
We also make whisky
As the campaign states, Bruichladdich cares about progress, change, the environment and the people in it. It also makes whisky, very good whisky in fact. There are a few factors that sets this whisky apart. Take the Classic Laddie for instance (in its unique aqua bottle); unlike most Islay whiskies, Bruichladdich whisky contains no peat.
When it comes to the key ingredient, the barley, Bruichladdich uses purely barley grown in Scotland (although there is no rule mandating this), which is then distilled and aged. The Classic Laddie is not defined by age, rather it’s created by using several different cask and barley types, that have been aged for different periods. The foundation for the Classic Laddie is not a recipe set in stone, but a distilling philosophy. Each batch is unique as year-by-year the variety and provenance of the barley helps to shape the spirit, and the distilleries ever-increasing range of casks from around the world help create an evolution of the flavours achieved.
Nothing is added in terms of artificial colouring, and nothing is taken away in that the whisky is never chill filtered (a process that strips away natural oils which can cause cloudiness).
As such each batch of the Classic Laddie will, by nature, be unique and subtly different, but it is ultimately the Head Distiller who curates this assemblage of their finest spirits, to showcase the classic, floral and elegant Bruichladdich house style.
Side bar: the tasting notes for the Classic Laddie (see file on the Box).
Nose: Elegantly sweet with honeyed barley, boiled sweets and orange petals. Wafts of sea air.
Palate: Red apples and white grapes, with touches of sweet cinnamon and brown sugar. Still softly coastal.
Finish: Mineral-rich malt, with toffee and more honey.