This is how you’re likely to see the Bruichladdich stills if you spend any time there…

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Type: Islay

Known for: genius bordering on insanity

And: the heaviest peat hit. In the world


Bruichladdich distillery, Islay, Argyll, Scotland, PA49 7UN, 01496 850221


The distillery looks innocent enough from the outside, only the slightly unusual choice of turquoise for the logo hints at the wonderful lunacy awaiting inside this Islay house of whisky.

A tour of the premises shows nothing to extraordinary beyond some older than average machinery, more staff than you’ll see in most distilleries, and an on-site bottling plant. But look at the range. From ferociously peated knockouts, via peat-free sweeteners, all the way to new make spirit off the still and their own gin. Bruichladdich aren’t rewriting the whisky rule book, they’re burning it to a crisp.

And then came the tasting. For this we joined distillery MD Mark Reynier for a session in his office…

An hour later we’d lost count of the samples and were lolling happily on the sofa surrounded by bottles and glasses.

“You are putty in my hands” Reynier boomed from behind his desk as he strode across the room to liberate yet another bottle, another one we simply “must try” to truly get Bruichladdich.

We continue the journey, soldiering on, laughing between drams, and all the while the jazz music ramps up, Reynier’s yelping dog spins circles on the floor like a top as it chases its tail, the fire in the hearth grows and as night envelops Islay and the whisky envelops us, the shadows dance on the walls and the whisky onslaught just keeps coming.

Frankly, a standout experience. Of Islay, of whisky, of life lived for the hell of it. We finally escaped, but we barely wanted to. Short of being strapped into a flaming wicker man this is Islay with both barrels. Drink some.

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Tasting notes:

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