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Issue 139 - The Maverick Distillery

Whisky Magazine Issue 139
October 2016

 

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The Maverick Distillery

Pushing the boundaries at Bruichladdich

Bruichladdich was a product of the Victorian Scotch whisky boom, being constructed in 1881 by the Harvey family of Glasgow, who also owned Dundashill and Yoker distilleries in their home city. The Harveys remained major shareholders in Bruichladdich until it fell silent in 1929. Subsequently reopened in 1936, Bruichladdich was acquired two years later by Joseph Hobbs and associates. Following a number of further changes in ownership, Bruichladdich was bought by Invergordon Distillers in 1968, and a second pair of stills was installed seven years later.

After Whyte & Mackay took over Invergordon in 1993, Bruichladdich, along with Tamnavulin and Tullibardine was closed down. Bruichladdich worked briefly for a few months in 1998, but then returned to mothballs, before being purchased in 2000 by the independent bottler Murray McDavid for £6.5 million.

Under the new regime, headed by Mark Reynier and highly experienced and charismatic master distiller Jim McEwan, Bruichladdich gained a reputation as something of a ‘maverick' distillery, never afraid to experiment and push the whisky envelope, while at the same time being passionate about integrity and provenance. The release programme was prolific, to say the least, and triple and even quadruple-distilled spirit was produced. In 2003 the only bottling line on Islay was installed at the distillery.

The first distillation when Bruichladdich reopened was on 29 May 2001, and comprised heavily peated spirit, christened Port Charl...

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