This bottling is a cask-strength offering from Bruichladdich with a twist: "it is peated". The nose of this young ‘Bruichladdich’ shows sweet notes of dulce de leche, ocean spray, smoke, loamy earth, dried apricot, nougat, white chocolate and fresh grain. The palate has an initial flavor or peat and earth that gives way to mesquite smoke and grilled a apricot flavor with just there nougat on the finish. D&M Tasting Notes
Bruichladdich was for much of its life a little loved distillery on Islay located on the western shore of the Lochindaal bay across from Bowmore. Bruichladdich began operations in 1881 after being meticulously designed by the three Harvey brothers, scions of a Glasgow distilling family. Records from that time, as well as written accounts, support the idea that the distillery was set up for coal, not for peat drying of the barley. This was to be a modern distillery of the Victorian age, built around stone buildings and up to the minute coal technology, and peat was not part of the program. At that time peat was considered to be an anachronism of the farm origins of most Islay distilleries. Victorian whisky writer Alfred Barnard wrote in 1885 that Bruichladdich was the only distillery on Islay that did not dry its malt using peat. William Harvey split with his brothers after the distillery was completed and remained at its helm until a fire in 1934 and his death in 1936 brought a close to the opening era.
Bruichladdich was mothballed for a time, and under the new ownership began to dabble in peated whiskies under the next string of owners. The production of a peated whisky at Bruichladdich seems to have stretched from the time between the World Wars until sometime in the 1960s. (The record as well as single malt bottlings from this time is spotty at best.) In 1975 the stills were increased from two to four. This led to a dilemma in the 1990s as the distillery was producing more product than ever before. Jim Beam was the owner at the time and vodka was on the rise, and the bean counters in Kentucky considered the whole distilling operation surplus to requirements. Thankfully, the distillery was simply mothballed, and was left to be reopened by a consortium led by London Wine shop owner Mark Reynier in 2001. To read more about the drama of that time, check out the New Yorker article Spirit Guide from 2013.
The owners in the new millennium chose an old hand in the ways of Islay: Jim McEwan. A couple of years ago we did an extensive writeup on Jim’s career, so here are the broad brushstrokes. Jim got his start in the world of Scotch at age 15 learning to make barrels at Bowmore. The masters of the company saw something in this “skinny little kid,” and after learning the full breadth of Scotch whisky production, he was made cellar master for Bowmore at age 22. By the age of 37 he was distillery manager, a post he would hold until ‘retirement’ in 2000. After 37 years at the same firm, most would welcome a well earned retirement, but Jim was enticed to return to Bruichladdich to get his hands back in the day-to-day production side. In the early 2000s under Jim, Bruichladdich became the darling of the Islay world.
They produced everything from a unpeated spirit under the Bruichladdich banner, Port Charlotte at around 40 ppm of peat, and they made the world’s most heavily peated whisky under the Octomore name. Port Charlotte was named after the nearby defunct distillery and was Jim’s answer to the charge that Bruichladdich wasn’t ‘Islay enough’ i.e. it wasn't peated. In 2013 Bruichladdich was purchased by the drinks giant Remy Martin and Jim exited stage left. With the new corporate owners things changed around Bruichladdich including an increased focus on brand protection. So while the bottle we have for you was distilled during the time that Jim McEwan was in charge, is peated to around 40ppm, yet is called Bruichladdich. The closest answer to the truth we have been able to extract is that under the new regime Port Charlotte is considered a brand name, so the independent bottler Alexander Murray erred on the side of safety and put Bruichladdich on the label. Regardless, we quite enjoy what is in the bottle, and hope you do too! Michael Kennel, D&M
Bruichladdich 12 YR Alexander Murray Bottling Single Malt Scotch Whisky
- Brand: Bruichladdich
- Availability: In Stock
- Quantity Available: 6
- SKU #: 7475