Interview: Isadora Bailly from Bruichladdich

What is going on with Bruichladdich since their acquisition by Remy Cointreau (RC)? Since RC took over the brand, they’ve discontinued the popular age statements (e.g. The Laddie Ten and Bruichladdich 16) and rolled out a host of new releases. It’s hard to keep track of their range since they have so many releases. The words: Black Art, Octomore and Barley Farm immediately come to mind when I think of Bruichladdich but I can’t always connect these phrases to their whisky. To help me sort out the confusion and fill me in on the latest news from Bruichladdich I interviewed Isadora Bailly the Bruichladdich brand manager. Enjoy the Q&A and hopefully you’ll have a clearer picture of Bruichladdich after reading it.

bruichladdich distillery

How have things changed for Bruichladdich under new ownership (Remy)?
Isadora: Nothing has changed. One of the great things about RC purchasing Bruichladdich is the group’s appreciation for what, Bruichladdich’s team does, how and why it does it. The Bruichladdich philosophy and ethics remain at the core of everything that is done and Bruichladdich will continue to develop artisanal, thought provoking, convention challenging Islay single malt whisky. The only change is distribution, that has moved away from previous third party distribution network and become part of the RC family of brands in the RC distribution network.

Bruichladdich RangeWith some many releases it’s hard to keep track of Bruichladdich’s range. What’s the core range now?
I: You are right, historically, Bruichladdich has had a reputation for experimentation. The new range of Bruichladdich products currently include: Bruichladdich Classic Scottish Barley, Bruichladdich Classic Islay Barley 2007 Rockside Farm, Black Art 23 yr old, Port Charlotte Scottish Barley and Octomore Scottish Barley.

The discontinued Laddie 10 was a personal favorite of mine. Does Bruichladdich plan to bring back any of the age statements (i.e. Laddie 10, 16 and 22)?
I: Actually, there are age statements on most of the Bruichladdich single malts. Black Art is 23 years old. Octomore is 5 years old. Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2007 Rockside Farm is 6 years old. Bruichladdich Classic Scottish Barley and Bruichladdich Port Charlotte are the only 2 that do not have age statements.

Scottish BarleyWhy is Bruichladdich stressing terroir now with all these Scottish barley releases? What’s in the pipeline for Bruichladdich? Any new releases we can expect?
I: The whole Bruichladdich positioning is around the “terroir matters”, the idea behind it is to show that it is not because a whisky is older that it is necessary better, there are many other things that can influence the final product. One of those are the barley, Bruichladdich indeed only uses Barley from Scotland, we have today a partnership with 14 farmers who grow Barley in Islay for us and you can expet to see Islay Barley releases in the future.

How should people think about Bruichladdich going forward? What makes their spirit unique?
I: Bruichladdich’s story and differentiation relates to the idea that “Terroir Matters” , it is about the Terroir (Islay), the Barley (100% Scottish) , the soul of the artisan (the iconic master distiller Jim McEwan), the original equipment (no computers in the distillery, Victorian equipment), the process (un chill filtered, no color added, trickle distillation..) and challenging convention (no age statement, aqua bottle…).

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