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Issue 120 - Allocation of 'The Laddie'

Whisky Magazine Issue 120
June 2014


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Allocation of 'The Laddie'

Autres temps, autres mœurs. Times are a changing for the new French owners of Bruichladdich

I suppose a lot of people are hoping I have something bad to say. Believe me, I did try. I looked everywhere. I looked under the washbacks for a French secret agent in hiding; I looked in the office for copies of Le Figaro; I even looked in the kitchen for some garlic but there was nothing to find.

I did find a very busy distillery, some happy and contended people and a positive story. If you're one of the noisy group of malt enthusiasts who loudly and repeatedly condemned the sale of Bruichladdich to Rémy Cointreau (and I do understand your pain, even if I don't share it) then perhaps you'd better turn to another article now. You're not going to like this.

A very brief re-cap: closed in 1994, Bruichladdich lay empty and silent on the shores of Islay's Lochindaal until it was purchased and re-opened in late 2000 by a group of private investors, led by London wine merchant Mark Reynier and his colleague Simon Coughlin. Through the turbulent decade which followed Bruichladdich adopted a stance at variance with the rest of the Scotch whisky industry, laying great emphasis on their treasured independence; focusing on terroir; believing that variety was all and generally making a nuisance of themselves. As it happens though, I don't actually think they were as much of a nuisance as they like to think – most of the industry tended to write them off as due to explode at any moment and just got on with life, ignoring the rants from the self-styled ‘renegade, maverick, trouble ...

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