Known for being unconventional and progressive, while this Victorian distillery changed hands in 2001, the essence of the Bruichladdich distillery located on the picturesque Scottish Hebridean Island of Islay remains intact. It was built in 1881 with a vision to create natural single malt of high provenance, which was fully traceable and flavour-first in its character.
Douglas Taylor, Bruichladdich Distillery CEO, commented on the distillery’s historical journey, “Our vision has been to create the world’s most thought-provoking spirits. At the same time, we want to fulfil a purpose which is bigger than our business and benefits many more people and the environment. Bruichladdich is a remarkable company, and it is the uniqueness of the people who work here that makes it that way. The genuine, emotional investment our team have in our success is palpable.”
The distillery produces three different single malts on the island; Bruichladdich, unpeated single malt; Port Charlotte, heavily peated single malt; and Octomore, super-heavily peated single malt. Alongside this, the distillery also produces The Botanist gin, the first Islay dry gin created using 22 foraged botanicals.
An Islay-centric approach
Passionate about supporting and nurturing the island community, its whiskies are conceived, distilled, matured and bottled on the island. The distillery currently works with 20 local farming partners to source its essential raw ingredient, with over 50% of its barley grown on Islay. Bruichladdich’s outlook is to do good for the people and the planet, and in 2020, Bruichladdich Distillery became the first distillery in Europe which distilled single malt whisky and gin to receive B Corp accreditation. The program seeks to help mission-driven businesses protect and improve their positive impact over time. Being B Corp-certified means that Bruichladdich was adheres to the highest standards of social and environmental performance while making sought after and thought-provoking spirits.
The flagship Bruichladdich single malt range explores the infinite possibilities of what whisky can and should be. Extending the mission to the outer packaging, the bottles are a liquid embodiment of the brand’s unrelenting curiosity.
“We seek to produce the most natural, thought-provoking spirits possible. Each of our brands has its own unique character and distinct flavour profile, capturing the essence of our wonderful island home,” quoted Head Distiller, Adam Hannett.
Bruichladdich’s sustainability promise
At the distillery, sustainability is inherent to every facet of the business, and the team is working to source greener energy solutions, improve their agricultural impact and reduce packaging and waste. The sustainability strategy is made up of four key pillars. First is energy and emissions, which works to reduce carbon emissions and introduce greener sources of energy where possible with an aim to decarbonise the distillation process by 2040. Second is agriculture and biodiversity which focuses on research into sustainable agriculture. Third is packaging and waste from production to packaging, the aim is to use less and reduce waste. Lastly, Islay and community ensures the community of Islay is at the heart of every decision.
The Classic Laddie
Their signature single malt, the Classic Laddie is not based on a recipe set in stone, but on a distilling philosophy based on the barley varietal, and an ever-increasing range of casks to create a variety of flavours. The Classic Laddie is elegant and clean with bright floral notes of coconut, lemon balm and barley sugar. However, age isn’t the only factor to create the malt. Head Distiller, Adam Hannett selects from different ages, cask types and barley varieties to create the brand’s classic house style. The rich, natural colour of the whisky comes from the cask and The Classic Laddie is bottled at 50% ABV as opposed to the average of 40-46%. The flavours from the spirit are more evident, especially the barley notes, and the viscosity is richer.
What makes this truly unique is that the brand steers clear from striving for absolute consistency and each batch of The Classic Laddie will be unique and subtly different. Each year, a variety of different barley strains and cask types shape the spirit, leading to an evolution in the flavours. Hannett samples and evaluates every batch of The Classic Laddie by nose, taste and mouthfeel to ensure the highest quality of the whisky.