Phase Two Begins

Work has well and truly started on our second warehouse at the new Coultorsay site down the road from the distillery.


Last month, independent construction company Robertson began erecting the steel frame of the three-cell warehouse. Challenged by our typical west-coast weather and the difficulty with transporting materials onto the island, the small team have worked on undeterred in order to make progress with the mammoth structure. Next steps will see the roof fitted along with the cladding.


Project Manager Chris Connor has settled into the island way of life quite well, and has been getting involved with the local community, arranging work experience opportunities, student site visits, and careers talks with Islay High School. The Robertson team are also working closely with local groups, including the Islay Community Garden, pledging sponsorship to the Islay Youth Football Team and generously pledging to donate the site defibrillator to the local paramedic team.


While still in the early stages of the decades-long project, the completion of this new warehouse will increase our storage capacity to around 100,000 casks. With around 72,000 casks currently nestled in Bruichladdich, Port Charlotte and Coultorsay, we are able to future-proof for many more years, before work on the next four begin.


Before construction began on these buildings, our Production Director Allan Logan took the decision to cut our annual production due to a lack of storage space. Rather than send our casks to an anonymous facility off the island, he insisted that everything stay here, under our watchful eye. The same principle has been staunchly held since the distilleries resurrection in 2001, with every cask filled by our team enjoying the full elements of coastal maturation (whether you agree if it makes a difference or not).


For the avid Islay news fiend, it is also worth noting that whilst our counterparts are reported to be doubling their production, we are not. Instead we are focussing on making single malt the same way we always have, by hand. This means that while we increase our capacity to mature here, we have no immediate plans to double production, add another still house or re-open a ‘lost’ distillery. Instead we remain focussed on producing the most interesting and flavoursome spirit, and are quite content sitting at 1 million litres per annum.


Our Head Distiller Adam recently reiterated the importance of 100% Islay maturation, not solely on the coastal qualities, but on the accessibility of each cask. When building multi-vintage cuvees such as The Classic Laddie, the unique ability to taste that cask within ten minutes is invaluable. It is especially important due to the manual nature of creating our recipes and to our complex recasking techniques.

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