History of Bruichladdich whisky distillery

Bruichladdich is a single malt whisky distillery on the Rhinns of the isle of Islay in Scotland. It was built in 1881 by three brothers, William, John and Robert Harvey, on the shore of Loch Indaal, on the Rinns of Islay, the westernmost part of the island. The Harvey brothers came from a family with whisky running through their viens, having owned two Glasgow distilleries since 1770. Using an inheritance, the they combined their talents to build a third distillery, Bruichladdich; it was designed by John, engineered by Robert, and financed by William and other family members.

At the time, the distillery was a state-of-the-art design unlike Islay's older distilleries, which had developed from old farm buildings. It was built from stone from the sea shore and has a very efficient layout, built around a large, spacious courtyard. The uniquely tall and narrow-necked stills were chosen to produce a very pure and original spirit, the opposite of the styles produced by the older farm distilleries.

Bruichladdich was run by William Harvey, after a quarrel with his brothers before the distillery was even completed, until a fire in 1934 and his death in 1936. Over the next forty years it subsequently changed owners several times as a result of corporate take-overs and rationalisation of the industry, narrowly avoiding closure until 1994, when it was shut down as being 'surplus to requirements'.

The distillery was subsequently purchased by a group of private investors led by Mark Reynier of Murray McDavid on 19 December 2000. Jim McEwan, who had worked at Bowmore Distillery since the age of 15, was hired as master distiller and production director. Between January and May 2001 the whole distillery was dismantled and reassembled, with the original Victorian décor and equipment retained. Having escaped modernisation, most of the original Harvey machinery is still in use today. No computers are used in production with all processes controlled by a pool of skilled artisans who pass on information orally and largely measure progress using dipsticks and simple flotation devices.

In 2012, Rémy Cointreau reached an agreement with Bruichladdich to buy the distillery for the princely sum of £58m.

Whisky from Bruichladdich

All the Bruichladdich's whiskies are sold as single malts, under a few different labels.  Those sold under the Bruichladdich label are unpeated, those under the Port Charlotte label are heavily peated and those under the Octomore label are the super-heavily peated whiskies. Octomore is considered to be 'the most heavily peated single malt whisky in the world'. All the barley Bruichladdich use is exclusively Scottish, some of which has been grown on Islay since 2004; Bruichladdich like to use the exact origin of the barley to tease out different flavour profiles. 

Buy a cask of Bruichladdich whisky

The Single Cask has some great Bruichladdich casks in our warehouses.  If you're interested in buying a cask of Bruichladdich, please contact us today for a free, no obligation quote.  We can also offer a range of bottling services, making the whole process of creating your very own whisky easy.

Sell a cask of Bruichladdich whisky

The Single Cask has a great history of buying and bottling single cask Bruichladdich whisky.  Often we buy our casks direct from the distillery, but we are also pleased to buy Bruichladdich casks from private individuals.  If you have a Bruichladdich cask that you're looking to sell, please contact us today for a free, no obligation, quote on how much we could pay you for your cask.

Bruichladdich distillery details

Address: Bruichladdich Distillery, Isle of Islay, Argyll, PA49 7UN

Website: www.bruichladdich.com

Telephone number: +44 (0)1496 850 190

Tours: yes, tours are available