"NO ONE WHO TAKES ON ANYTHING BIG AND TOUGH CAN AFFORD TO BE MODEST."– Orson Welles
Islay is a remote island surrounded by fast currents, dangerous skerries, powerful overfalls, wild winds and Atlantic swell. This unforgiving combination of nature, has been a barrier protecting those within, and keeping away those from outside for millennia. Around these shores there are countless shipwrecks and thousands of lost souls.
It is an island in isolation, one that has retained its Gael/ Viking gene pool. Politically and strategically important, Islay was home of the once mighty Lordship of the Isles, a pan-Gaelic independent kingdom-within-a-kingdom that dominated the western seaboard of North Britain.
The Ìlich are thus a free-spirited people; they have had to be. Independent of mind, proud of spirit. This isolation, together with the relative fertility of the land, made Islay an ideal place to distil.
The enterprising Harvey brothers chose Islay to build their new state-of-the-art distillery in the summer of 1881. After a filial bust-up, William Harvey took control. From the outset Bruichladdich was on its own. An outsider. It was a roller-coaster existence, and following his death in 1935, the distillery was finally sold, entering the corporate whisky world.
After a series of consolidations and takeovers this wonderful distillery was finally shut down after a decade of part time whisky production. In December 2000 it once again became privately owned when Mark Reynier succeeded in securing the finance to buy the distillery. Deliberately, only private equity was raised, a third connected with Islay itself, and no corporations or vulture capitalists. Hand-picked, long-term investors, intrigued by the vision of making whisky the way it used to be, and with the romance in their souls to know this would be a journey not a destination.
All our profits are reinvested in distillation, giving us the freedom to push the boundaries of traceability, provenance and authenticity. Employing 49 islanders, the company is run in entirety from the distillery, providing inspiration, an immediacy of ideas, and an essential connection with the heart and soul of the island – NOT IN SOME REMOTE CORPORATE BOARDROOM IN LONDON, PARIS, or TOKYO. Non-aligned with the rest of the multinational-owned whisky industry, we have total freedom of expression and the latitude to follow the distilling muse wherever it may take us.
Freedom of expression, independent spirit, dedication to place, a romantic soul. Call us old-fashioned.