why islay?

 [ Pronounced “EYE-la”; Scottish Gaelic: Ìle, pronounced “ila” ]

 [ Pronounced “EYE-la”; Scottish Gaelic: Ìle, pronounced “ila” ]

55.77°N, 6.15°W

Isle of Islay, Scotland

3,228

Islay inhabitants

80

Bruichladdich employees

18

Islay farms growing barley

55.77°N, 6.15°W

Isle of Islay, Scotland

3,228

Islay inhabitants

80

Bruichladdich employees

18

Islay farms growing barley

Islay-grown barley


Islay Terroir

Terroir: A concept that encompasses the influence and inter-action of soil, sub-soil, exposure, orientation, climate and micro-climate on the growing of a plant – any plant – vine, flower or barley.

Peated whisky


events single malt whisky melbourne

It’s a common perception, particularly among new whisky drinkers, that all Islay whisky is peated, and all peated whisky is Islay. This is not the case. There is no Islay appellation defining the style of whisky produced here.

Foraging on Islay


wild inspiration with Mark Williams

The Botanist Gin is a progressive exploration of the botanical heritage of our Isle of Islay. 22 hand-foraged local botanicals delicately augment nine berries, barks, seeds and peels during an achingly slow distillation.

Islay people


Real Place, Real People

To the ancient Greeks the Hebrides were a mythical land beyond the North Winds. To the Vikings these islands were far-off lands of mystery. Exotic and fearsome perhaps, but also believed to represent peace and fulfilment.

Islay-grown barley


Islay Terroir

Terroir: A concept that encompasses the influence and inter-action of soil, sub-soil, exposure, orientation, climate and micro-climate on the growing of a plant – any plant – vine, flower or barley.

Peated whisky


events single malt whisky melbourne

It’s a common perception, particularly among new whisky drinkers, that all Islay whisky is peated, and all peated whisky is Islay. This is not the case. There is no Islay appellation defining the style of whisky produced here.

Foraging on Islay


wild inspiration with Mark Williams

The Botanist Gin is a progressive exploration of the botanical heritage of our Isle of Islay. 22 hand-foraged local botanicals delicately augment nine berries, barks, seeds and peels during an achingly slow distillation.

Islay people


Real Place, Real People

To the ancient Greeks the Hebrides were a mythical land beyond the North Winds. To the Vikings these islands were far-off lands of mystery. Exotic and fearsome perhaps, but also believed to represent peace and fulfilment.

Not just a place…


Islay is not just a place. It defines relationships that last for generations. It’s ecosystems are a mix of wild coasts, craggy highlands, bogs, and fertile farms, a balance of settled and unspoilt.

The western arm of the island known as the Rhinns is our home and it shapes everything we do, from logistics, to being part of a close-knit community. The people of Islay, the Ileachs (or more properly the Ilich), are proud, with a strong sense of identity.  And yet they are also surprisingly modest.  The tiny island community, or less than 3,500 people, live in a series of small villages, the names of which are known to lovers of great spirits in every country in the the world.

Not just a place…


Islay is not just a place. It defines relationships that last for generations. It’s ecosystems are a mix of wild coasts, craggy highlands, bogs, and fertile farms, a balance of settled and unspoilt.

The western arm of the island known as the Rhinns is our home and it shapes everything we do, from logistics, to being part of a close-knit community. The people of Islay, the Ileachs (or more properly the Ilich), are proud, with a strong sense of identity.  And yet they are also surprisingly modest.  The tiny island community, or less than 3,500 people, live in a series of small villages, the names of which are known to lovers of great spirits in every country in the the world.

The island’s complex geology


Gruinart and Indaal are two shallow sea lochs that divide Islay from the north and south. They were formed along a branch of the Great Glen Fault that divides Scotland, the same fault system that creates the famous national landmarks of Loch Ness and Glencoe as it travels from north-east to south-west.

The main line passes just to the north of Colonsay and separates the limestone, igneous intrusions and Bowmore sandstones from the Colonsay Group and ancient gneiss rocks of the Rhinns.

The complexity of the resulting faults produces the minor earth tremors that occasionally rattle our windows.

There is a tillite bed near Port Askaig that provides evidence of an early Ice Age, but Islay was also ice-covered during the recent Pleistocene glaciations when the island marked the edge of the great northern ice sheet.

The complex changes of sea level due to melting ice caps since then have left a series of raised beaches around the coast. The last of these great changes probably happened less than ten thousand years ago.

Throughout much of late prehistory the low-lying land between the Rhinns and the rest of the island was flooded, creating two islands that have only recently become one.

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Islay Geology

Birdwatching on islay


Islay is one of the most exciting places to watch birds in north-west Europe. The different species to be seen vary dramatically with the seasons. Spring, autumn and winter bring thousands of wild geese to feast on the rich grass of our fertile landscapes. Loch Indaal provides a winter home to hundreds of divers, grebes and sea duck.

Summer nights are filled with the call of the corncrake and golden eagles can be seen soaring above the coastal cliffs and mountain crags all year round. Birdwatchers come to see the largest flocks of chough in the UK, and to hope for sightings of the many true rarities that arrive every year.

Birds

Birdwatching on islay


Islay is one of the most exciting places to watch birds in north-west Europe.

The different species to be seen vary dramatically with the seasons. Spring, autumn and winter bring thousands of wild geese to feast on the rich grass of our fertile landscapes. Loch Indaal provides a winter home to hundreds of divers, grebes and sea duck.

Summer nights are filled with the call of the corncrake and golden eagles can be seen soaring above the coastal cliffs and mountain crags all year round. Birdwatchers come to see the largest flocks of chough in the UK, and to hope for sightings of the many true rarities that arrive every year.

The wildlife of islay


Wild animals are remarkably easy to see on the island. Some of the finest red deer stags to be found in Scotland can be heard bellowing across Islay’s higher ground during the month of October.

Otters are often remarkably obliging too, and the patient are almost certain to obtain good views during the course of a week’s stay. There are big local populations of harbour and grey seals, and they too are easy to spot – often hauling out close to the villages.

The wildlife of islay


Wild animals are remarkably easy to see on the island. Some of the finest red deer stags to be found in Scotland can be heard bellowing across Islay’s higher ground during the month of October. Otters are often remarkably obliging too, and the patient are almost certain to obtain good views during the course of a week’s stay.

There are big local populations of harbour and grey seals, and they too are easy to spot – often hauling out close to the villages.

real food


We all love great food and it is difficult to imagine anywhere with access to finer ingredients than Islay. The quality of beef, lamb, game and shellfish that is available to chefs here, and indeed anybody interested in eating well, is unsurpassed.

Although first-class protein is the island specialty, there is the Islay House Community Garden to provide us with fruit and vegetables – and foragers are sure to be inspired no matter which season you choose to visit.

Food pairing however, is something we rarely engage in at Bruichladdich. We are not about to try and persuade you that we think pairing spirits to different dishes through a meal is a good idea. We don’t. That’s what wine is for.

However, Octomore with Islay oysters is one of the great sensory experiences of the world. And Kelsey’s Botanist cheesecake is not far behind…

Foraged Islay Oysters

real food


We all love great food and it is difficult to imagine anywhere with access to finer ingredients than Islay. The quality of beef, lamb, game and shellfish that is available to chefs here, and indeed anybody interested in eating well, is unsurpassed.

Although first-class protein is the island specialty, there is the Islay House Community Garden to provide us with fruit and vegetables – and foragers are sure to be inspired no matter which season you choose to visit.

Food pairing however, is something we rarely engage in at Bruichladdich. We are not about to try and persuade you that we think pairing spirits to different dishes through a meal is a good idea. We don’t. That’s what wine is for.

However, Octomore with Islay oysters is one of the great sensory experiences of the world. And Kelsey’s Botanist cheesecake is not far behind…

Four seasons in an hour


The weather on Islay is simply glorious – but it helps if, like us, you appreciate the wild.

Glowering skies and magnificent storms are all part of the excitement. Washed by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, we rarely see snow or frost, but the plentiful rain keeps things fresh and ensures that there is a decent water supply for distillation.

An average year (should such a thing exist) will see us get more of everything than anywhere else. That means more sunshine, more rain, more wind, more light, more clouds and more sky. It is simply stunning.

Four seasons in an hour


The weather on Islay is simply glorious – but it helps if, like us, you appreciate the wild. Glowering skies and magnificent storms are all part of the excitement. Washed by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, we rarely see snow or frost, but the plentiful rain keeps things fresh and ensures that there is a decent water supply for distillation.

An average year (should such a thing exist) will see us get more of everything than anywhere else. That means more sunshine, more rain, more wind, more light, more clouds and more sky. It is simply stunning.

Bruichladdich Distillery
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