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Bruichladdich Distillery is located on the remote Hebridean island of Islay in Scotland. It produces three innovative whisky brands: Bruichladdich, an unpeated single malt; Port Charlotte, a heavily peated single malt; and Octomore, the world’s most heavily peated whisky series. Originally founded in 1881, Bruichladdich still makes whisky the same way as when it first opened, but it is anything but old fashioned. The distillery continuously pushes boundaries, from embracing the concept of terroir to enacting industry-leading sustainability efforts.
The distillery’s modern era began in 2001 when Simon Coughlin and Mark Reynier, wine merchants from London, reopened Bruichladdich with a clear vision of producing whisky that reflected the Islay terroir.
Bruichladdich believes that the provenance of the barley impacts flavor as much as cask aging. They use 100 percent Scottish-grown barley rather than global commodity barley—the latter of which is grown for yield instead of flavor. Taking it further, the distillery works with 24 local farmers to grow barley for their Islay Barley range. This range explores Islay’s unique terroir, and how the local soil and climate impact flavor.
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In May of 2020, Bruichladdich became the first Scotch distillery to become B Corp certified, a global recognition of companies that put people and the planet in line with profit. This certification is a validation of the past 20 years of continuous commitment to the highest standard of environmental sustainability and investment in the local community. Even though Bruichladdich is the second smallest distillery on Islay, it is the island’s largest private employer.
The distillery is also adjusting production with the future in mind. To shrink its carbon footprint, Bruichladdich is building a malting facility on Islay to reduce unnecessary transit of its barley. Bruichladdich is also developing green hydrogen technology to generate the heat needed to make their spirits, moving closer to their planned decarbonization of the distillation process by 2025.
To Bruichladdich, Islay is a place and not simply a flavor profile. The flagship Bruichladdich range is unpeated and the Classic Laddie expression represents the house style: floral, fruity, and complex, while allowing the flavor of the barley to shine. With everything aged on Islay, it’s impossible to miss the salinity the ocean mist imparts.
In contrast, the Port Charlotte range is heavily peated to 40 parts per million (ppm), in line with other Islay whiskies. These rich spirits combine the power of peat with the elegance and finesse that Bruichladdich is known for. Port Charlotte whiskies are an authentic expression of Islay; like all of the distillery’s whiskies, they are 100 percent distilled, matured, and bottled on Islay.
Lastly, Octomore is an experimental range of the world’s most heavily peated single malts. These limited-edition whiskies have the highest level of phenolic content (or smoke particles) of any whisky, some reaching more than 300 ppm.
In short, Bruichladdich Distillery has a whisky for every palate, and all come with a rich history, a commitment to sustainability, and an exciting vision for the future.