Bruichladdich, pronounced ‘brookh-laddie’, takes its name from the Gaelic for ‘brae of the shore’, and was built in 1881 by the Harvey brothers on the westernmost part of Islay. The Harvey family already owned two Glasgow distilleries and the brothers used an inheritance to design and build their third on the isle known as the Queen of the Hebrides, with uniquely tall and narrow-necked stills selected to produce a style of spirit distinct from that of the older farm distilleries on the island.
Before the distillery was even completed, William Harvey took over the distillery following a quarrel with his brothers. William was at the helm of the distillery for more than fifty years until his death in 1936. In the following years the distillery changed hands a number of times due to corporate takeovers and rationalisation of the industry. In 1994 Bruichladdich was shut down as surplus to requirements.
A new millennium
Having lain silent for six years, Bruichladdich was rescued by a group of private investors in December 2000, with Bowmore veteran Jim McEwan hired as Master Distiller and Production Director. Over the following six months the entire distillery was dismantled and reassembled, retaining the original Victorian décor and equipment, including most of the original machinery put in place by the Harvey brothers. Under the new management the distillery flourished and gained a cult following. In 2012, French distilling magnate Remy Cointreau purchased the distillery for £58 million.
Progressive Hebridean Distillers
Bruichladdich remain distinct from the other Islay distilleries by producing unpeated spirit for the core Bruichladdich range. Additionally, the distillery produces the Port Charlotte range of heavily peated expressions, the Octomore range of super-heavily peated expressions – including some of the world’s most heavily peated whiskies – and The Botanist artisanal gin.
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