We live in a world that’s increasingly transparent. Laying bare the makings, components and ingredients is the only sure way of empowering a world that has been too heavily edited and misguided by marketing and advertising to make the right choice, the best choice.
Such is exactly what Bruichladdich believes in. It is one of the only whisky and gin distillery in Europe, and one of two globally, to be B Corp Certified in 2020 for balancing profit and purpose. In its effort to further make accessible every element of its whisky, Bruichladdich welcomes all to discover the provenance of its ingredients so you may appreciate the full flavour in every glass.
Getting to the source
Situated in the Southwestern tip of the Hebridean island Islay, Bruichladdich Distillery crafts four different spirits – the Bruichladdich unpeated Islay single malt Scotch whisky, Port Charlotte heavily peated Islay single malt Scotch whisky, Octomore, the world’s most heavily peated Scotch whisky and The Botanist Gin, the first Islay dry gin.
First established in 1881 by the Harvey brothers, it underwent closures during the world wars and in 1994 for seven years. It was reopened by Mark Reynier, Simon Coughlin and Jim McEwan in 2001 who breathed new life into the community by keeping as much of their operations on Islay as possible.
It was then bought over by luxury spirits company Remy Cointreau in 2012, who continued to invest in the values of the business, in being Islay based, and in the local community.
Where are the ingredients from?
Barley, yeast and water are the primary ingredients in Scotch. Barley, in particular, contributes different flavours and textures to Bruichladdich’s final recipes. Three different barley types appear in the recipes of The Classic Laddie. They are 100% grown in Scotland and categorised into ‘Mainland’, ‘Mainland Organic’ and from Bruichladdich’s island home of ‘Islay’.
Its Scottish Mainland Barley is grown in the Inverness-shire region of Scotland, near the home of its malting partners – Bairds. As its mainland barley is grown in different regions within Scotland, it is still exploring the effects on flavour. Its Scottish Mainland Organic is traceable back to a single farm, which varies according to year. It is often creamy, sometimes grassy in flavour. Occasionally, you’ll find some casks of spirit distilled from Islay Barley the odd cask of Islay Barley in your bottle. Islay barley is said to be citrusy, with a strong maritime influence.
How is it made?
At its very core, single malt whisky is just barley, yeast and water, aged in an oak cask for at least three years. While age and cask type are often referred to as the most important signifiers of quality, Bruichladdich takes a holistic view, embracing flavours from how and where its barley is grown, to the condition of the cask when it is filled and what ‘vintages’ of spirit are in each bottle.
On average, Bruichladdich’s Classic Laddie batches are made up of 76 different casks, comprising 4 vintages of spirit, 3 different barley types and 7 different cask types and are a direct embodiment of Bruichladdich’s commitment to provenance, to quality and its skills as distillers.
Head distiller Adam Hannett has individually selected casks to showcase the classic, floral and elegant Bruichladdich house style. Made from 100% Scottish barley, trickle distilled, then matured for its entire life by the shores of Loch Indaal in premium American oak, the Classic Laddie is smooth as pebbles in a pool, is clean, fresh and lively with both the oak and the grain in perfect harmony. It comes in the colour of sunlight on fields of early summer barley and opens on the nose with barley sugar and mint, then freshly cut wild flowers. There are also little zephyrs of spindrift and sea pinks, followed by caramelised fruits, like lemon drops and honey, tangerine and tablet. On the palate, it is a combination of ripe green fruit, brown sugar and sweet malt bring closure with an unforgettable finish.
What are its commitments?
Regarding age statements, Scotch Whisky regulations and EU laws require distillers to comply with the following legislation: “Any maturation period or age may only be specified in the description, presentation or labelling of a spirit drink where it refers to the youngest alcoholic component in the drink.”
This means they are only legally allowed to declare the youngest age of spirit in the bottle. Bruichladdich’s flagship bottlings are made up of multiple different spirits of different ages, but it is limited to two options – either it states the youngest age on the bottle, or it declares no age at all. Considering age alone over-simplifies the complexity of its recipes, it prefers not to undermine the interplay between maturation time, cask type and the influence of its raw ingredients.
Age statements can act as an entry level piece of information to give some indication of the minimum period a whisky has been matured for, but do very little to describe the overall flavour, quality or provenance of the single malt. Bruichladdich has no intention to mislead about the age of its whiskies, merely to show what components are contributing to the flavours in its unique recipe.
Know what’s in your whisky
Bruichladdich’s transparency has gone hand-in-hand with its commitment to quality ingredients and the integrity of its founders since its resurrection in 2001. Bruichladdich is unashamedly open, from its business practices to its products and whisky-making process. These are the commitments it has made:
- Declaring 100% Scottish Barley
- Age statements
- Refusal to caramel colour
- Declaration of batch process
- Commitment to place
Bruichladdich believes in sharing the details of every ingredient in each bottle of The Classic Laddie. It is fully transparent about the quantity, type and provenance of every cask, the origin of its barley and the age of the youngest component part, even if it is legally restricted from sharing more information relating to age.
Every bottle of The Classic Laddie has a batch code printed on the back of the bottle. You can enter it into the website here to reveal the unique recipe for that specific bottle. This transparency is so you and I and every Bruichladdich fan out there can understand more about its origin and provenance. With Bruichladdich, there are no hidden measures.
Want to know further what’s in your whisky? Scan the QR code above with your phone’s camera or visit the official website here.
The Bruichladdich Classic Laddie is available for purchase at the official e-tailers Wholly Spirits and Whisky.my. Enjoy 10% discount on Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie at Wholly Spirits and Whisky.my.