Still Independent: Bruichladdich

The Hebridean Whisky Distillery That Produces Rarefied Blends

“We’ve applied wine trade philosophies to distillation: we’re trying to put some locality, provenance and authenticity back into whisky,” enthuses Mark Reynier, managing director of Bruichladdich. This fiercely independent brand, first established in 1881 by whisky scions The Harvey Brothers, has in the past decade become a unique proposition, tapping into the current taste for organic produce and slow food by sourcing the majority of its ingredients, including barley and spring water, from the tiny island of Islay, Scotland, where its distillery is based. Reynier, a seasoned vintner who took over operations in 2000 after falling in love with a Bruichladdich vintage he won at a tombola 15 years before, is dedicated to producing a whisky with the “balance and harmony” typically associated with grape not grain. Working with production director Jim McEwan (who has been named Distiller of the Year an unprecedented three times in 1998, 2000 and 2003), he champions the use of the original Victorian equipment from the distillery’s foundation—including the sole existing belt-driven barley mash in the world and long-necked copper stills that draw out only the purest spirit—to create liquors that are creamy and sophisticated (citrus, myrtle, butterscotch and sea salt are just some of the notes in a  typical Bruichladdich bouquet). Today we showcase images from Philip Sinden, who infiltrated the distillery to observe the traditional process—not a digital thermometer or refrigerator in sight. Read more here about Bruichladdich’s range of fine and unusual liquors, sold alongside their 1.4 million liters of maturing stocks, dating back as far as 1964. 
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