Bruichladdich is an award-winning distillery employing generations of distilling knowledge and the principle of minimal intervention.

Built in 1881 on the wild Scottish island of Islay, our distillery we still use much of the original Victorian equipment to create a range of artisanal single malt whiskies and a botanical gin that are all trickle distilled and bottled solely on Islay by a skilled team of 78 men and women.

Designed by Robert Harvey then a 23 year old engineer, Bruichladdich distillery was radically avant garde in 1881. A state-of-the-art facility that was custom-designed to produce the purest spirit possible at a time when other distilleries on the island (including some now famous names) were developing out of cramped farmstead operations.Using a century of distilling knowledge gained from the family distilleries in Glasgow under the tutelage of his uncle Barnett, Robert’s brother, John Harvey, provided the expertise.

The distillery was built around a spacious courtyard, on a slope to allow gravity feeding from mash to spirit house. It was well understood that the minimum intervention of pre-fermented wash the better. Several clever innovations were included, such as anti-collapse measures on the stills, later taken on by all other Scottish distilleries.

Sadly the Harvey Brothers were better distillers and engineers than they were businessmen and Bruichladdich distillery struggled against the sharper, big industry interests of its day. However their loss has been our gain.

We still use much of the original equipment installed by our visionary Victorian forefathers. One wash still from 1881, recently renovated, may be the oldest in Scotland. Temperamental it may be, but it was designed in a gentler, slower age when distilling was more artisan than science, and our tall, long-necked stills – the antithesis of those prevailing at the time – still produce the soft, elegant, floral whisky for which Bruichladdich is rightly famous.

These fantastic copper stills have produced this great single malt for going on for 130 years – what can we add? Fundamentally we believe in Natural Whisky, no chill-filtration or coloring. Our preferred whisky strength is 50% – diluted down from natural cask strength with our treasured Islay spring water.

Bruichladdich, from inception, has always been a loner. Unadulterated by perpetual scientific meddling, computerisation or economic “efficiency” – this is slow, manual distillation at its best. Where other distilleries have men in white coats with degrees in computer science we have head distliller Adam Hannett and his team.

And, as we only distil this precious single malt whisky for Bruichladdich, never for others to blend, we can afford to be uncompromising in our raw ingredients, technique and principles: organic barley, heritage varieties, Islay grown, single estate origins, terroir, slow fermentation, trickle distillation, miserly tight “middle cut” for extra purity.

Diversity starts in the field. Provenance is key. We believe the interaction of man, land, soil and climate is paramount. We value our farmer relationships, reconnecting that lost cycle between farmer and distiller — land and spirit.

There are many attributes we share with our distant Gaelic forefathers: stubborn, resolute, self-sufficient, tough, hard-working, enduring, straight-talking, emotional, passionate, philosophical and engaging… perhaps with a certain roguish quality.

We are proudly nonconformist, as has always been the way in these Western Isles – Oirthir Gaidheal, the Coast of the Gaels, the land of the outsider. We passionately believe in terroir – in authenticity, place and provenance, in ultimate traceability. We seek to produce the most natural, thought-provoking, intellectually stimulating & enjoyable spirits possible. Obsessive? Probably – but if all you want is generic spirit, the world is awash with the stuff.

There are many attributes we share with our distant Gaelic forefathers: stubborn, resolute, self-sufficient, tough, hard-working, enduring, straight-talking, emotional, passionate, philosophical and engaging… perhaps with a certain roguish quality.

At Bruichladdich, we believe the whisky industry has been stifled by industrialization and self-interest – huge organizations have developed that require a stable status quo to ensure that their industrial processes can run to maximum efficiency, producing the maximum “product” with the minimum input and variation, all to the lowest unit price.

We believe that whisky should have character; an authenticity derived from where it is distilled and the philosophies of those who distil it – a sense of place, of terroir that speaks of the land, of the raw ingredients from which it was made.

We believe in variety, in chance, in progress, in irrationality, in a stubborn refusal to accept prescribed “process”; we believe in following the distilling Muse wherever it might take us. Above all we believe the world needs an antidote to homogeneity and blandness. Since our first spirit ran from our stills on 11.09.01 we have been on an adventure – sometimes a white-knuckle ride, but a journey that has seldom been dull, often a challenge, throughout a joy and a thrill.

Our raw ingredients are paramount. We use 100% Scottish barley – we believe it’s called “Scotch” for a reason. We are the major distiller of organic barley in Scotland and have been instrumental in support for organic farming in the single malt category. In 2010 we released the first single malt whisky to be made purely from Islay Barley, probably the first in the island’s history.

Our farmers know every inch of their land and the meaning of every cloud in the sky.  Our water comes from farmer and friend James Brown’s Octomore farm up on the hill behind our Port Charlotte warehouse; our Islay barley is dried in the sheds of the Wood brothers, Andrew and Neil, up the road at Octofad farm. We believe in community.

We use only Scottish-grown barley (it is called “Scotch” after all); we are also committed to protecting heritage varieties and are working with the Highlands and Islands Agronomy Institute on Orkney, who are growing Bere barley exclusively for Bruichladdich. This ancient six-row ‘landrace’ of barley is one of the oldest cultivated cereals in the world and would have been familiar to the Vikings and their distant forefathers. Grains of six-row barley have been found on archaeological sites in Orkney that date back some 6,000 years.

All our warehouses sit on or above the shores of Lochindaal – the sea loch that defines the westerly Rhinns of Islay – so Atlantic ozone-rich freshness permeates our malt during the many slow years of maturation.

Oak casks – more osmotic membrane than container – perform the vital task of allowing the evolution of the spirit by way of subtle and complex interactions between the micro-oxidation of the whisky’s flavor compounds, oak tannins extracted from the wood, the ozone-marine influence of the air absorbed through the wood and the whisky texture.

Combining extensive wine experience, hands-on barrel coopering, and decades of whisky knowledge, we have a unique and unparalleled understanding of the complex and quixotic interaction of wood, air and spirit – and continue to explore it keenly.

We are intrigued by the effects of oak from America and Europe’s greatest forests on the flavor of Bruichladdich malt; over the years American white oak (Quercus Alba) imparts lush, vanillin flavors’, whereas the influence of French oak (Quercus Robur, Quercus Petraea) is more subtle and fine.

We believe our spirit should speak of where it comes from and where it is matured – Bruichladdich is the only major distiller to distil, mature and bottle all its whisky on Islay. Extraordinary to think it could be any other way, isn’t it?

The finest oak is a raw material just as important as barley or spring water. We are uncompromising in our choice of cask; we can work with the best, so we do. We are privileged to have relationships with some of Europe’s greatest wine-makers and their estates; from Rioja and Jerez in Spain, to Bordeaux, the Languedoc, the Loire and Alsace in France, to the Neusiedler See in Austria we have access to the finest oak casks that have previously contained the world’s greatest wines. The complexity and subtlety of the effect these casks have on maturing whisky are fascinating, and for us when our single malt is put into cask this is the start of a journey of discovery, not a final resting place.

No two casks of spirit are the same or mature at the same rate or in the same way. So it is essential that we are here, on the ground, watching our maturing malt with a hawk’s eye. Not only is that required for quality, but every now and then the whisky gods surprise us and give us something rare, capricious and unexpected – the difference between artisanal craft and commercial production.

We directly challenge the tyranny of the arbitrary age statement – is a 20-year-old necessarily any better than a 16½-year-old? If several vintages together provide more complexity – why not? Is a single vintage always best? Can a 5 year-old out-perform a 30-year old?

By definition all our bottlings are artisanal, hand-crafted and small batch. We deliberately choose not to homogenize or standardize preferring individuality, character and perhaps a certain intellectual provocation.

Above all we believe in authenticity. That a whisky should speak of the land and of the people who crafted it. Ultimate provenance, ultimate traceability.

Lastly, we believe in innovation and progress, with constantly striving to produce a more characterful spirit, one with more integrity and provenance, one that is more expressive of this wonderful island we are lucky to live on. A spirit to put a smile on your face wherever you are, and to help you close your eyes and quietly dream of Islay.