Bruichladdich, in keeping with 99.5% of distilleries, has not malted barley on site for around 65 years.
In the post war years distilling capacity could be increased by ‘farming out’ the malting to professionals and using the the labour and time gained to distil more.
All of Bruichladdich’s barley is malted by Bairds of Inverness. This maltings alone has organic certification, plentiful storage capacity for our different farms, can produce peated barley for Octomore and Port Charlotte, and can handle smaller field units.
The malting process is not influenced or determined by location.
Modern malting is a technical process that requires considerable expertise to optimise yields from variable growing conditions and harvests. This is particularly relevant for our 28 Scottish farm origins and the dozen barley varieties we use.
Old floor maltings, while an iconic whisky image, are labour intensive, notoriously fickle and impossible to operate effectively. Few, if any, dare rely on the method exclusively. Their continued use is primarily for tourism purposes. And long may it continue.
Diageo’s Port Ellen maltings on Islay supplies most of the island’s other distilleries, including Lagavulin, Caol Ila, Ardbeg, Bunnhabhain, Laphroaig and Kilchoman. However it does not use Islay, or Scottish-grown, barley.
Using this maltings rather than any other has absolutely no relevance to the quality or flavour of the spirit produced.