Fundamentally we believe in natural whisky - no chill-filtration or colouring, two commercial processes (in widespread use in the mainstream Scotch whisky industry) that we feel lack authenticity and detract from the integrity of the spirit. The former removes flavour and texture, the latter adds artificial sweetening and darkening.
Our preferred whisky strength is 46% - diluted down from natural cask strength with our treasured Islay spring water.
We have a natural curiosity. We are fascinated by the many influences on maturing spirit – oak, air, humidity, cask size and particularly cask origin. For too long the industry has compromised on barrel quality; we have put in place a comprehensive new wood policy with no expense spared.
We are unashamedly experimental in our cask use. What many critics of wine barrel maturation forget is that the use of Bourbon casks, and before that the now revered sherry butts
, was once also considered a radical departure and no doubt “dangerous experimentation”. The Scottish whisky producer only turned to sherry butts when supply of his favourite Gascony wine barrels
was interrupted by (frequent) war with France in the 19th century. For our part we have (re-) introduced the subtle integration of French oak
from the best wine estates in the world. Simply, these winemakers use the very best oak in the world, so the contribution of this extra maturation on our single malt is more complex, profound and nuanced than many give it credit for.
So while we have a deep respect for classic Bourbon-aged Scotch - our Laddie Classic single malt is a fine example - our head distiller, whisky legend Jim McEwan, also uses his knowledge of wood, derived from training as a cooper from the age of 15, to create a number of subtle “cuvées”; some, like Champagne, are married from across the ages to create a specific character; others, married from different wood or cask types, or barley varieties, both organic and biodynamic. Some are even from single estates, single terroir, many extolling the attributes of a single vintage.
This is not gimmickery or meddling, and it’s certainly not marketing. This is about authenticity and provenance, and is a product of our unending curiosity to explore the true and complex nature of this fantastic spirit, Bruichladdich single malt.
We look for balance, harmony and complexity. We want a brain-stimulating experience, that satisfies the soul, that develops in the glass and evolves on the palate, and lingers in the mind.
We directly challenge the tyranny of the arbitrary age statement - is a 20-year-old necessarily any better than a 16½-year-old? If several vintages together provide more complexity - why not? Is a single vintage always best? Can a 5 year-old out-perform a 30-year old (our 5 year-old Octomore Orpheus has been voted Single Malt of 2010 by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible)?
By definition, all our bottlings are artisanal, hand-crafted and small-batch. We deliberately choose not to homogenise or standardise preferring individuality, character and perhaps a certain intellectual provocation.