Bruichladdich Distillery

Islay, United Kingdom

Bruichladdich Distillery produces mainly single malt Scotch whisky, but has also offered artisanal gin. It is owned by Rémy Cointreau and is one of eight working distilleries on the island. Bruichladdich was built in 1881 by the Harvey brothers on the shore of Loch Indaal. The Harveys were a dynastic whisky family that had owned two Glasgow distilleries since 1770. Using an inheritance, the three brothers combined their talents to build a third distillery—Bruichladdich—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.

On 23 July 2012, it was announced that Rémy Cointreau reached an agreement with Bruichladdich to buy the distillery for a sum of £58m.

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Address

A847, Islay, United Kingdom
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Founded: 1881
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Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Taylor Lauzon (2 years ago)
Five of us went to Bruichladdich shortly after the holidays and were fortunate enough to land a private tour. Ashley kindly answered all of our questions and took us through the warehouse and the entire distilling process. The tour was well over an hour and then came the tasting. Given that they weren't super busy (post-holidays) Ashley let us try any whiskeys that we wanted as well as The Botanist gin. Not bothering to measure an exact dram, she was free pouring and provided multiple driver dram bottles. This generous, unhurried, and easy-going experience was appreciated by everyone and we purchased a few bottles to remember the day. We will be back to this exciting distillery.
Carney James Turner (3 years ago)
I've been to a few places a round the world. It's simply magical here and they make a simply stunning whisky. The gin is aces too. People are delightful, knowledable and fun. Shop is rammed with treats and there's honestly nothing not to like. In a world full on nonsense and marketing this is a rare gem. Shining brightly in the north Atlantic....
Wahyu Sudiro (3 years ago)
Our tour guide brought us here for a quick stop and we wished we had taken the warehouse tasting. Great whisky all around. You can purchase whisky from two different casks in a 500ml bottle which are only available on this distillery.
Alan J (3 years ago)
I/we've done the tour once, but have visited several times on our visits to Islay. It is the most friendly and generous tasting experience of all the Islay distilleries, allowing you to sample most of their whiskies - a policy that works, as it's the only place I've bought bottles at £130 or more (several times). Good on them, and I'll no doubt be back.
Kara Ilsley (3 years ago)
Excellent place to visit - tastings of anything under £200 are free and the staff are friendly and knowledgeable. Definitely worth a trip. Try the Botanist Gin, it is amazing. The Organic Whisky is also very good!
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