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Issue 48 - Proud to stand alone? (Bruichladdich)

Whisky Magazine Issue 48
June 2005

 

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Proud to stand alone? (Bruichladdich)

Bruichladdich reopened some four years ago and has been trail-blazing ever since. Ian Buxton visited it

It's never particularly hard work to go to Islay. In fact, you have to remind yourself this is actually work, and you're not just here to enjoy yourself (though I did).

But my arrival was low key. Heavy, driving rain obscured the view across Loch Indaal; even moving between distillery buildings ensured a good soaking and dark clouds hung low over Bruichladdich.

But that's enough of the impressionistic stuff. Mood music gives way to the facts. Bruichladdich distillery was founded in 1881 and, until the next few days, will enjoy the distinction of being the most recent distillery to be built on Islay (the new Kilchoman farm distillery over Sunderland Hill at the back of Bruichladdich will shortly acquire that title).

The distillery was built in 1881, for William Harvey IV and his two brothers by their uncle, Barnet Harvey, financed by a bequest from their father William Harvey III. They chose a location on the edge of Loch Indaal, on the Rhinns, the most westerly point of Islay.

At the time it was a state-of-the-art plant, and it has remained very much the same ever since, with most of the original equipment still in use. Using cavity walls and a new fangled material – concrete – made from pebbles from the sea shore, this was a purpose built operation, efficiently laid out, built around a central courtyard that housed the Kiln (removed in 1961) and a large steam engine that provided the power.

Alfred Barnard passed through five years later recording a “solid handsom...

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