Bruichladdich is perhaps the most interesting distillery on Islay, which is arguably the most interesting whisky- producing region in all of Scotland. The story of Bruichladdich can be divided neatly in two — before 1994, when the distillery was shut down during the long Scotch whisky decline of the ‘80s and ‘90s, and after 2001, when it was purchased and rebuilt, with Master Distiller Jim McEwan at the helm.
McEwan’s tenure helped make Bruichladdich one of the most exciting, groundbreaking distilleries in all of Scotland. On one hand, he was releasing old whiskies from the distillery’s original incarnation. And on the other, he was producing young, experimental bottlings like Octomore, a series of the most heavily peated whiskies ever made. McEwan retired in 2015, but his successor, Adam Hannett, has upheld his legacy, releasing thrilling new whiskies both new and old.
So far, 2018 has seen a half-dozen new Bruichladdich expressions. True to form, three are young — less than a decade, which by Scotch single malt standards is positively embryonic — and three, the first releases under the new “Rare Cask” moniker, were laid down in the mid 1980s. Whether you’re a single malt progressive or a staunch traditionalist, there’s plenty here to love.