Bruichladdich, Barely (Summer 2017)


Here is my penultimate distillery visit report from our recent visit to Islay. I’ve already gone over my longer visits to Lagavulin, Laphroaig and Bowmore (where I did tours) and to Ardbeg (where we ate lunch) and short stops at Bunnahabhain and Caol Ila. Here now is a brief look at Bruichladdich. We stopped here a little after my tour at Bowmore. We were on our way to Portnahaven, trying to figure out where to have lunch, and stopped at Bruichladdich to see if they might have a cafe (for some reason I’d thought they might). They do not, but I took the opportunity to take a quick look around and take a bunch of photographs. 

As it happens, even if I’d wanted to tour Bruichladdich, I couldn’t have done it that day: they were doing maintenance and all tours were cancelled. But, frankly, Bruichladdich’s mystique doesn’t do as much for me as it does for many other whisky geeks and so this didn’t feel like a missed opportunity. It does seem like a nice place and, as at every distillery on Islay, the staff were all very friendly. From my quick look it seemed like a more compact distillery than most of the others on the island, but that may merely be because there are other buildings hidden behind those in the main courtyard. If you’ve been please fill in the details below. A little bonus was running, once again, into the jolly Swedes I’d met at Lagavulin—though I forgot to mention it, we’d also bumped into them at the Old Kiln Cafe.

Bruichladdich has a very nice location—just across the highway from the sea. As at almost every distillery on Islay, the distillery’s branding is all over the exteriors of the distillery. Though there were no tours happening, the visitor centre/shop was open and it seemed like there might have been a tasting happening at the bar. The visitor centre/shop is all one large space—which looks like it is probably a repurposed warehouse—and it’s bright and the opposite of cramped. There’s the bar to the left of the cashier as you enter, the shop proper to the right, a couple of “fill your own” casks (I presume) straight ahead, and another comfortable seating area in the middle. It does have a much looser feel to it than any of the Kildalton distilleries or Bowmore do (or any of the other distilleries I stopped in at in Scotland, for that matter).

Here are some pictures. Scroll down to see what’s coming next.

So, that just leaves Kilchoman, which I spent about as much time at as at Bruichladdich. I’ll post a quick look at that next week, and maybe I’ll throw in some pictures of Machir Bay as well. The rest of this week will be restaurant write-ups, from both London and Skye.

In case you’re wondering, after we left Bruichladdich we ended up eating lunch at a small pub in Portnahaven. Unfortunately, it was raining heavily when we got there and so we couldn’t really see the seals (they were bobbing in the harbour). After lunch we spent some time at the Natural History Trust in Bowmore. We went there mostly to wait out the rain but, as I think I’ve mentioned before, we really enjoyed it and wished we’d gone on our first day. If you’re going to Islay I’d recommend stopping in there early.

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