The Bruichladdich distillery was built in 1881 by three brothers called William, Robert and John Harvey. The name Bruichladdich means ‘gentle slope of the sea’ or ‘corner of the beach’ in Gaelic, which refers to the distillery’s location on the Isle of Islay near lake Indaal. The distillery remained under the Harvey family’s control until 1936 when William died, and it was sold. The distillery then changed hands many times and for the most part it was mothballed by the various owners.
In 2000 Murray McDavid purchased the Bruichladdich distillery and fully refurbished it in keeping with its old Victoria style, making it a rather unique distillery in today’s world of whisky production. In 2012 Remy Cointreau bought the distillery and still have ownership today.
The Bruichladdich distillery also owns the Octomore distillery/farm which is located just outside the Port Charlotte town. The Octomore distillery was located on Octomore Farm and was a very small operation established by the Montgomery family in 1816. The Bruichladdich distillery currently uses the old farm buildings as warehouses and also uses the Octomore brand for bottlings.
Bruichladdich offer a substantial variety of official bottlings under three different brands. The original Bruichladdich whisky is well known for its freshness as well as sweet, honey, floral and slight citrus notes. However, since the Murray McDavid take over in 2000, they now have medium peated whisky from Port Charlotte and heavily peated whisky from Octomore. Both Port Charlotte and Octomore are undeniably smoky with strong notes of bonfire but the trademark freshness of Bruichladdich remains.
The vast majority of Bruichladdich bottlings are not coloured and are also not chill-filtered and they also no longer state the age of their bottlings. However, thanks to the large variety of independent bottlings you can find different aged bottlings on the market.
The Bruichladdich distillery has an ongoing project with local farmers. They are growing a type of barely called Bere that hasn’t been grown since the start of the 20th century. They also source nearly 50% of their malting barley from the island itself.