Josh Wood of Octofad Farm, near Nerabus on the Rhinns of Islay spent his first shift in the still house today under the watchful eye of The Budgie, our legendary senior stillman. Josh, who is eighteen, started at Bruichladdich earlier this year and is gaining experience in all aspects of the production process at the distillery.
Josh was educated at Bowmore Primary and High schools before joining the team here. His father Neil and Uncle Andrew have been closely associated with Bruichladdich for many years – and were featured on the PC7 tin. The Wood family provide various contracting services to us, including warehouse construction. They also collate, dry and store the barley from Islay farms after the harvest before it is shipped to Bairds Maltings.
Bruichladdich is very much a family affair. Andrew Wood’s daughter Chloe also joined us after leaving Bowmore High and is currently working in the Laddieshop and as a tour guide.
Absorbing the many subtleties of distillation will take years – and the skills are passed down, almost entirely orally, from one generation to the next. Vitally important in this process are the experienced stillmen, such as Duncan ‘The Budgie’ McFadyen, who pass their knowledge on. The Budgie recently marked 25 years of continuous service at Bruichladdich. His family is from the farm at Carn just outside Port Charlotte and, like his father before him, he attended Port Charlotte school. Budgie is married to Arlene who is a senior member of the team in the Harvey Hall where all our whiskies are bottled.