Bruichladdich is living proof that the traditional whisky regions of Scotland make no sense. Please don’t think that labelling a whisky “Islay” has anything to do with taste because the truth is far more complicated and interesting.
Built in 1881 when puffer-supplied coal was available as an alternative fuel to local peat, it is likely that Bruichladdich was specifically designed to produce the purest unpeated spirit possible. The great Alfred Barnard supports this view with a tantalizing clue – the Laddie is the only distillery on Islay that he does not describe as drying its malt using peat in his fascinating exploration of the island’s distilleries in 1885.
Sadly, none of that 19th century spirit survives, but the original Victorian machinery has allowed an unparalleled legacy of craft distilling to trickle down through the generations of men who make this sophisticated Islay dram.
We salute them, not with bland homogeneity, but with a glorious palette of expressions that celebrate the range of possibilities of this, the world’s greatest spirit.