Whisky Magazine Issue 120
Copyright Whisky Magazine © 1999-2014. All rights reserved. To use or reproduce part or all of this article please contact us for details of how you can do so legally.
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 ...