Does whisky taste better the older it is? According to a team of Japanese scientists led by K. Koga it does, and it's better for your health too. And it's all down to the wood.
The Botanist owes its name thanks to thirty one botanicals and two botanists.
Dr Richard and Mary Gulliver, the botanists, have been scouring the island for the wild Islay botanicals which are hand-collected and dried.
The use of such aromatic plants for flavouring spirit is not new. The island’s clandestine distillers of old used whatever was to hand to improve their rustically produced usquebaugh, distilled on small, portable stills, hidden away in remote glens.
Most Hebridean place names are derived from either the Gaelic or Norse language, and denote a precise geographical location or landmark.
Bruichladdich is usually translated rather poetically as ‘brae by the shore’, but this is a rather vague concept in the context of Loch Indaal and its environs.
Bruichladdich is one of the fifty most unpronounceable names in Scotland says the Scottish Miscellany.
The full Gaelic name is Brudhach a Chladdaich, two descriptive geographical words. Brudhach is pronounced 'brew-ahhk' (with the 'hach' heavily aspirated), while in the softer Islay Gaelic accent, Chladdich, sounds like 'klah-dee' or 'klah-deehk'.
Put together we get 'brew-ahhk-ah-klah-dee-hk'. Over time, the end of the first word, and the beginning of the second were elided to become 'brew-ah-kladdie'. This was ultimately Anglicised in the nineteenth century to ‘broo-kladdie’.
West Coast Gaelic speakers still pronounce it as 'brew-ah-kladdie'.
The original whisky regions are Highland, Lowland, Cambeltown and Islay. To this has been added, for convenience, Islands and Speyside.
They are merely C19 bureaucratic administrative areas for distilling licenses. They represent no more, no less, the concentration of distilling licences at that time.
They were invented when there were 22 distilleries on Islay, 32 in Campbeltown, and 30 in the Lowlands. Now there are 8, 3 and 2 respectively.
Some people will always find the wide array of Bruichladdich bottlings confusing.
What is great choice to some, is a “clusterf%!k” to others, as one commentator suggested, a bewildering proliferation of one-off bottlings.
This is fair criticism.
It's a common perception, particularly among new whisky drinkers, that all Islay whisky is peated, and all peated whisky is Islay.
This is not the case.
Bruichladdich distilled the world’s first ever whisky from biodynamic barley last year. Such is the extraordinary quality of the spirit that we are doing a second distillation - and it is double the size of the first one.
There is a deliberate reason for this: we consider these two Bruichladdich bottlings to be two sides of the same coin.
Botanicals are the very essence of gin; its raison d'etre. The Botanist gin is made from 9 traditional gin botanicals and 22 local Islay botanicals, hand-picked and foraged by local botanists, Dr. Richard and Mary Gulliver.