In The Still Room

We respect the past but don't live in its shadow. We believe in innovation and progress, while striving to create intriguing spirit - a spirit with flawless integrity and provenance. We are curious and restless - we never leave well enough alone. Pathfinders where angels fear to tread.

We believe that Islay whisky should have an authenticity derived from where it is distilled and where it is matured... from the philosophies of those who distil it. A sense of place, of terroir that speaks of the land, the barley, the water and the human soul  that gave it life.

There are many who would see whisky distilling as an industrial process – a means of standard manufacture and nothing more. We understand distilling to be an ancient art, one that has intrigued the human spirit for centuries. A black art, a mysterious and enigmatic alchemy, that explores the very depths of the distiller’s soul.

Designed by Robert Harvey, then a 23 year old engineer, Bruichladdich distillery was radically avant garde in 1881 – a state-of-the-art facility that was custom-designed to produce the purest spirit possible at a time when other distilleries on the island (including some now famous names) were developing out of cramped farmstead operations.

Using a century of distilling knowledge gained from the family distilleries in Glasgow under the tutelage of his uncle Barnett, Robert's brother, John Harvey, provided the expertise.

We still use much of the original equipment installed by our visionary Victorian forefathers

The distillery was built around a spacious courtyard, on a slope to allow gravity feeding from mash to spirit house. It was well understood that the minimum intervention of pre-fermented wash the better. Several clever innovations were included, such as anti-collapse measures on the stills, later taken on by all other Scottish distilleries.

Sadly the Harvey Brothers were better distillers and engineers than they were businessmen and Bruichladdich distillery struggled against the sharper, big industry interests of its day. However their loss has been our gain.

We still use much of the original equipment installed by our visionary Victorian forefathers. One wash still from 1881, recently renovated, may be the oldest in Scotland. Temperamental it may be, but it was designed in a gentler, slower age when distilling was more artisan than science, and our tall, long-necked stills - the antithesis of those prevailing at the time - still produce the soft, elegant, floral whisky for which Bruichladdich is rightly famous.

We see our role in this more as custodians than industrialists.

These fantastic copper stills have produced this great single malt for going on for 130 years – what can we add?

Bruichladdich, from inception, has always been a loner. Unadulterated by perpetual scientific meddling, computerisation or economic “efficiency” - this is slow, manual distillation at its best. Where other distilleries have men in white coats with degrees in computer science we have head distliller Adam Hannett and his team.

And, as we only distil this precious single malt whisky for Bruichladdich, never for others to blend, we can afford to be uncompromising in our raw ingredients, technique and principles: organic barley, heritage varieties, Islay grown, single estate origins, terroir, slow fermentation, trickle distillation, miserly tight “middle cut” for extra purity.

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