THE fiercely independent ethos of Bruichladdich is defying a trend towards industrialisation and automation in distillation.
The company is justifiably proud of its status as the biggest private employer on Islay where an enthusiastic team of 85 men and women create whiskies by hand.
The quality of spirit they produce is extraordinary. The ‘Laddie’ range consistently undermines the myth that ‘the older a whisky gets, the better it becomes’.
The reality in the glass is much more interesting.
‘New make’ from this maverick distillery sets out on its journey through life full of crisp, fresh, malty flavours derived from the finest Scottish barley being trickle distilled – but it is careful management of American and European oak casks by real people that eventually determines the final character of the whisky.
This is perfectly illustrated in the unpeated ‘Laddie Eight’, the latest exclusive for GTR released by head distiller, Adam Hannett.
His aim with this vatting is to preserve the elegant, floral notes of the vibrant young spirit while building up the signature salty, citrus tang so characteristic of Bruichladdich.
He understands that eight years maturation in a warehouse that hugs the shores of Loch Indaal will impart complex notes of apple, pear and subtle layers of oak. His reward is this graceful single malt that relates to a very modern craftsmanship.
Bottled in-house by their talented young workforce at the unusually high strength of 50%, the Laddie Eight opens up further with a drop of water, revealing soft fruits and notes of sweet, malt sugar.
It speaks clearly of the quality of ingredients, and the importance of the remote Hebridean environment in which it evolved.
Bruichladdich never chill filter or add artificial colours to homogenise their whiskies, so you can expect subtle variations between bottles to occur over the years.
It is all part of the unique Laddie experience.
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