Bruichladdich. I was very excited to visit Bruichladdich because I had met an awesome sales rep from their parent company back in California when I was just starting to plan my journey. He believed so wholeheartedly about the brand he was working for and selling and I hope to keep that passion going in this industry as well! They are owned by Remy Cointreau based in Paris, France. This is Remy’s only Scotch whisky brand and they not only own the brand, but the actual distillery as well. They also own brands such as The Botanist, Cointreau (of course) and Mount Gay Rum. I’m pretty sure that Mount Gay Rum is taking off in the states right now.
Remy Cointreau purchased Bruichladdich in 2012 after previous owners let it fall by the wayside up until the year 2000. This is when a group of private investors bought the brand for seven million pounds. This price included five million for the existing casks on site and two million for the actual facility. What a steal! If you look on Bruichladdich’s website, the final agreement for the 2012 Remy purchase went through at 58 million pounds. You can tell by some of their equipment and I don’t mean this in a negative way, but the equipment is a bit of a hodge-podge. Their mash tun is a classic, cast iron mash tun, not a lauter tun and has no top. They also have a Robert Boby mill and the only other site I know using this kind of mill is Ardbeg.
Bruichladdich claims to be using 30% Islay barley and 100% Scottish barley. They use Bairds malt for all of their malting needs, both peated and un-peated. There are currently 85 locals employed at the distillery and this makes them the largest private employer on the island. You will see as you walk around the facility starting with the not only the exterior branding, but the malt bins, mash tun and everything else that it has been painted that “Tiffany Blue” color. The apparent story behind this is that when the distillery was re-opened in the 2000’s after being mothballed, the sea was that exact turquoise color. They run four waters in their mash tun and do about 12 mashes per week. Their fermentation period lasts about three days and they use Kerry yeast in their six wooden washbacks. Their still room is very unique. You walk in and immediately see on the left an old Lomond still! That is not for their whisky unfortunately, Scapa is still the only known distillery using a Lomond still for whisky production. They are using this only for The Botanist Gin. On the left hand side you will see their un-polished wash and spirit still.
They have quite a few different cask finishes and you can see that in their warehouse. Due to parent company Remy, they have great access to different wine and cognac barrels for experimentation. Port Charlotte is peated to about 40ppm. This is comparable to Laphroig and it is a mixture of the Laddie malt and the Octomore malt to make it at this level. The Octomore editions are peated anywhere from 167-300ppm. I had heard rumors that the Octomore might not be produced at any capacity after this year. I was put to rest and told that they will continue, just with different editions. I hope the one I bought on whisky exchange can be worth something someday!
Here are the Bruichladdich’s I tried…
2007 Port Charlotte- Cognac Finished
Holly’s Tasting Note..
Nose: Raspberry’s, slight cough medicine with peat and vanilla.
Palate: Lotion/mouth coating texture, raspberry creamsicle, cherry chap stick.
Bruichladdich Laddie – Non-Age Statement
Holly’s Tasting Note..
Nose: Honey, pears and peaches.
Palate: Sweet honeysuckle, freeze pops, creamy honey and slightly grassy.
I was very impressed by the marketing and branding of Bruichladdich. I would recommend the unpeated Laddie to anyone who ever says they don’t like Scotch. I was also impressed by the Octomore. Although I bought a bottle, I had never actually tried it. It is smooth and easy to drink. I didn’t put my tasting note in this post because I lost it. Sorry!
Next up is Bunnahabhain…