It has been the driest September for 50 years. No rain has fallen since 15th August, quite unheard of in these weather beaten Hebridean isles. Personally we have enjoyed it a lot; the summer has been remarkable. But our spirit hasn't been so happy.
Our own Jim McEwan will be over in Australia this September and October pouring a few drams and telling tall tales.
The list of dates and venues is below. Please contact the venues directly if you'd like to to go; for any other queries contact Eddie Brook on email@example.com
Look forward to seeing a few of you there. Slainte!
We have been delighted to be working with a team from the world-renowned American current affairs programme ''60 Minutes' from CBS News. Fronted by the legendary correspondent Bob Simon, the producers are interested in taking a broad look at Islay and her whisky industry against a background of the upcoming referendum on Scottish Independence. Much spectacular footage has been taken around the island including some of the other world famous Islay distilleries, Octomore Farm and locations ranching from Kilchoman beach to Craigens and Port Ellen.
There is no particular reason you should have heard of Derek Mather, although many of you will have. If you join the chatter on Facebook you may recognise the name and you will probably have seen posts from his restuarant, The Artisan, in Wishaw, Glasgow.
Derek is a whisky fan. More specifically Derek is a Bruichladdich fan. Let's just qualify that. The Artisan stocks over 2000 different single malts, of which 437 are Bruichladdichs and rising. Even Derek's beef for the restaurant comes from the highlanders on James Brown's Octomore Farm, above the distillery.
The combines have started to roll here on Islay - with everyone keeping their fingers crossed for a good harvest. Everything still depends on the weather. We have had a great year so far. James Brown of Octomore has described it as 'unusually normal, by which he means that there has not been any of the extreme events that generally characterise trying to farm, and particularly grow malting barley out here on the outer edge. The spring was quite benign and gentle, there have been none of the usual massive storms and the sunshine has been constant and warming, interspersed with regular showers of rain to keep things moving forward. June and July were really excellent - August has not been quite so clever, but nothing too drastic, and suddenly we find ourselves facing golden fields that are heavy with promise.
We have, so far, had the perfect summer here on Islay. Brilliant blue skies punctuated by a day here and there of intense rainfall.
The barley crop growing for Bruichladdich across the island is as good as it has ever been in the ten years we have been working with Islay grown grain. It is also at its most beautiful right now. The delicate awns are still light and buoyant; they blow in staggered unison in the breezes, creating Mexican waves and ripples in the fields.
The purpose of the trip was to promote greater understanding of the process and show how the grain performs during malting. There was much discussion over how to achieve consistent levels of quality using different varieties of barley.
Bruichladdich brand ambassador Murray Campbell was on hand at the launch of three of our range of whiskies in Malaysia recently. The event took place in Kuala Lumpur and featured The Classic Laddie, Port Charlotte Scottish Barley and Octomore 6.1.
Also present was Richard Gillam of Remy Cointreau International who created some memorable Bruichladdich cocktails. The media launch was on Monday, with the rest of the week busy with magazine interviews and a series of tastings for members of the trade and interested consumers..
It has been a privilege to support the launch of the Pam Hogg exhibition and pop-up shop in Glasgow as part of the 'Fashion Culture' strand of the Merchant City Festival. Fashion legend Pam is also a well-known artist, musician, activist and supporter of human rights around the world. She studied Fine Art and Printed Textiles at the Glasgow School of Art, one of the producers of the current show.
The launch party was held on 25th July at Virginia Court, 56 Miller Street and a range of t-shirts and other memorabilia will be available both on site and on line. Some of these will be being exhibited for the first time. A percentage from all sales will be donated to Amnesty International.
The Transeurope Project. Four Bruichladdich enthusiasts from the town of Schwaz in the Austrian Tyrol visited us recently and brought us four ex-wine casks from two top vineyards in Burgundy, France who adhere to strict bio-dynamic principles. The casks were filled with spiirit distilled from biodynamically grown barley and will be used as part of our ongoing exploration of barley provenance.
Alexander Knapp, Elfi Muller, Gottfried Fercher. Luis Fercher and Gunther Scheitnagl have an informal whisky club, and first visited Bruichladdich back in 2012, when they were impressed by the commitment of our master distiller Jim McEwan to the concept of 'natural whisky'.
A small but important minority of French winemakers are also very interested in 'natural wines' and Dr Knapp explained how these pioneers often struggle against the tide of mainstream opinion, even within France. In winemaking, as with whisky, he says, there are forces which are always trying to standardise wines, to manage expectations so that they conform to pre-conceived ideas of how they should look and taste.