Today everyone wants to know more about what’s in their food, but do you know what’s in your single malt? Bruichladdich is the first major Distillery to fully embrace this new ‘age of transparency’. They go to extreme lengths to produce whisky, the flavour coming from not just the process, but ALL the ingredients. It is now time to find out exactly what those are.
While many producers aim for absolute consistency in their flagship bottle, Bruichladdich are stepping away from tradition with the Classic Laddie and the Laddie Eight. Rather than practise caramel colouring or chill-filtering to homogenise their whisky, they want to celebrate those differences. Not surprising since these are anything but ‘standard’ bottlings.
Enter the batch code printed on the back of those bottles on their website, and it will reveal the unique recipe. Batch 19/999 of the Classic Laddie is made up of 76 different casks, comprising five vintages of spirit, three different barley types and eight different cask types! Each batch will be subtly different, though still showing the celebrated elegant, floral Bruichladdich style.
The goal is for you to be able to trace that individual batch’s ingredients from origin to bottling. Every separate thing that subtly influences the taste of the final blend can be found. Barley origin, cask type and provenance, and the age of the youngest component. Basically, as much information as they are legally allowed to provide. No hidden measures. | RM
Bruichladdich (pronounced Brook-laddie), meaning 'bank on the shore', was built in 1881 on the edge of Loch Indaal on the most westerly point of Islay. In 2000, the distillery was purchased by a small group of independent investors (including Murray McDavid owners) who renovated the Victorian equipment and in effect, turned the Bruichladdich distillery into a working museum.
The Bruichladdich philosophy is to produce the most natural and enjoyable whisky possible. The whiskies are bottled on Islay. They are all bottled naturally, free from colouring, and chill-filtered for extra flavour and texture. Where necessary, the whiskies are reduced to 46% with Islay spring water prior to bottling. This is approximately 14% more alcohol per bottle than a standard strength whisky.
Brought up on Islay, Adam left the island to go to university, but soon returned and began working as a tour guide at Bruichladdich, which is where he claims his education really began.
Adam quickly moved from the visitor centre to become a warehouseman, mashman, and then stillman, before being appointed Head Warehouseman. His hard-working ethos and natural skills as a blender soon caught the eye of Jim McEwan, and he began a long apprenticeship, shadowing the Master Distiller as he monitored the maturation of whiskies in the warehouses.
In 2015, when Jim retired, Adam Hannett became head distiller at Bruichladdich, the man now ultimately responsible for the quality of spirits at the Progressive Hebridean Distillery.