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To the ancient Greeks the Hebrides were Hyperborea – A mythical land beyond the North Winds. To the Viking Norsemen these islands were Havbredey, “Isles on the edge of the sea”; curiously, they have always been an other-worldly place… a far-off land of mystery, both exotic and fearsome but often also held to be a land of peace and fulfilment.
To the Gaelic Scotii tribe the Hebrides were theirs, “The Coast of the Gaels”, Oirthir Gaidheal, pronounced "Argyll". In its medieval heyday the Hebrides, and Islay specifically, were the home of the Lords of the Isles - Viking-Gaelic warriors who ruled the west coast and islands of Scotland by sword and by longboat. This powerful mix of Gael and Viking blood – a stubborn, proud, tough, volatile, passionate and superstitious people – isolated by rough seas, eight knot currents, vicious whirlpools, hidden reefs and Atlantic storms, has determined that this island has remained a land apart.
Since its creation in 1881, Bruichladdich distillery has led a chequered, almost fated life. Family feuds, recessions, industry cartels, deception, world wars and sheer bad luck all took their toll, and in many ways it’s a miracle that the distillery is still here today. In 1994 Bruichladdich was bought by Jim Beam Brands and finally closed down, its staff made redundant – on an island not noted for its employment opportunities - and just two men kept on to rattle the locks.
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a stubborn, proud, tough, volatile, passionate and superstitious people – isolated by rough seas, eight knot currents, vicious whirlpools, hidden reefs and Atlantic storms
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