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Issue 43 - At whisky's coalface

Whisky Magazine Issue 43
October 2004

 

This article is 11 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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At whisky's coalface

Bruichladdich is the latest of a series of distilleries to launch its own whisky academy. Mark Furse joined one of the first groups to see what you get for your money

Promoted under the engaging tagline: ‘got a thirst for knowledge?' The Bruichladdich Whisky Academy is an attempt to provide participants with a structured approach to whisky making in a hands-on environment, which will appeal to all aficionados of malt whisky.

In many ways Bruichladdich is ideally placed for such a venture. The Islay setting is superb – the distinctive colour used as the Bruichladdich livery replicates the colour of the sea in the bay – and the distillery is both historic and independent.

I was sold the idea of the academy on an earlier visit to the distillery, at the end of the standard guided tour, convinced by the informed enthusiasm of the gui de, Adam. I do like a dram, and also enjoy being informed about my enthusiasms.

Many people who have taken a distillery tour must be frustrated by the lack of engagement with the process, no matter how well structured the tour is, and the academy offers a significant step up. At the end of August, in a week of near perfect weather, I joined the academy for what was, in effect, a working holiday.

The web-pages for the academy (www.bruichladdich.com/the_academy.htm) state that the aim is to allow a maximum of six people to “stay in the distillery for a week long residential course shadowing our workforce as they go about their jobs of mashing, distilling, and bottling our whisky, using equipment much of which dates from the opening of the distillery in 1881 – without a computer or automated process in ...

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