It gives me much pleasure to acknowledge the vital contribution which our distilleries make to the island economy, directly by providing employment and indirectly by attracting visitors - from near and afar - who in turn give other businesses a valuable boost. I must also recognise the distilleries’ generous donations to local charities.
With the notable exception of Bruichladdich, the industry behaves impeccably,
goes about its affairs responsibly and discreetly and brings to its public relations maturity and tact. Obviously, these companies uphold a collective standard of propriety in all sectors of their operations and particularly in the “delicate” one of advertising. In stark contrast, Bruichladdich pursues a brash, opportunistic style of management - at times bordering on the uncouth - and revels in its chosen role of untamed mavericks of the whisky industry. It is not for me to suggest how the Board of Bruichladdich should conduct its business; that is its prerogative and rightly so. But I do suggest its “like it or lump it” approach, particularly to public relations, has provoked this confrontation.
Let us now visit the Uiskentuie shenanigans to see what is on display this fine, carnival day. There is arrogance, ostentation, machismo, insensitivity, posturing celebrities, and gimmickry; nothing new there. But there is a message; a new message, a “fun” message which is loud, clear and potentially lethal. As the area is cordoned off for launch and the count-down begins, it is too late for remorse, too late for recrimination, too late to abort the “mission”; we have lift-off and the “fun” message is on the way:
Bruichladdich - the most potent whisky ever distilled - is guaranteed to get you up to speed in four seconds flat. Have a “fun” weekend.
You know, I used to enjoy a glass of Bruichladdich, but lately it seems to have acquired a bitter taste. Could this be symptomatic of an ageing palate or a reaction to the virulent “Fun-thing virus”, now endemic in our society?