Feis Ile 2018: Bruichladdich

Bruichladdich mash tun.jpegThey say the sun always shines on Bruichladdich’s open day. That it did, though I’m sure no-one expected a heatwave for the entire festival. As I had heard from previous years, Bruichladdich offers a party atmosphere. Here you could try all their festival bottlings and a whole range of other expressions at their well stocked and varied bar. All manner of whisky, gin, beers and cocktails were on offer.

Tour-wise, there are peeps all over the in-operation distillery. No problem with photos being taken here. We even get to try the wash.

Bruichladdich wash [2018] 6.5% abv

  • C: Smells like warm wheat beer with a little bitter ale side.



Bruichladdich ugly betty.jpeg

  • Established in 1881 [SW], Remy Cointreau bought Bruichladdich in 2016.
  • Their seven ton cast iron rake-and-plough mash tun dates right back to 1881 [see PIC above]. Apparently, it’s the biggest of three surviving open rake-and-plough mash tuns still in operation in Scotland. If Deanston is one [blog], Glenglassaugh is the other [SW].
  • At £100000 per washback [apparently], Bruichladdich have 6.
  • There are rumblings that Bruichladdich plan on using their own floor maltings in the future, primarily for a 100% Islay malt.
  • The Ugly Betty still makes Bruichladdich’s Botanist, the fourth most popular gin in Scotland – apparently!

Tour over. To the bar!!!!!

Bruichladdich feis ile flight.png

[Bruichladdich] Port Charlotte 2001/2018 16yo Ob. Heretic Feis Ile 2018 [1300 bts] 55.9% WB89.19[83]

  • N: A fruity & fatty nose that may suggest a meaty body to come.
  • T: A sadly lacking and slightly sour young 16yo with a thin & dry smokey mouthful.
  • F: Mainly dry smoke.
  • C: Originally £120, now twice the price at auction. This didn’t float my boat, however many respected folk regarded this highly.

Scores 80 points


[Bruichladdich] Port Charlotte 2005/2018 12yo Ob. Distillery Valinch cask #2087 [956 bts] 59.3% [50cl] WB90.37[83]

Bruichladdich flight with bottle photos.jpg

  • N: A fruity number that isn’t too blatantly oloroso-ed nor overly doctored! It’s also rather malty with a little peat oil.
  • T: Oily sherry malt with a few choice berries, blackberry Tunes and tarry rope. There’s a hint of old skool about this for sure. 
  • F: Bitter-sweet and somewhat malty with a fairly short cut off.
  • C: Rock on! £75 for a 50cl bottle on the day.

Scores 86 points


I’m pretty sure I’ve tried these next three before. Islay is where I fell in love with Octomore.

[Bruichladdich] Octomore 7.1 2009/2015 5yo Ob. 59.5% WB86.87[388] WF83


  • N: Light sweaty & salty vegetal creme.
  • T: Vegetal popcorn, the barley stretching out. 
  • F: Full on power with full control, oysters and kelp emerging at the end.
  • C: This is a ‘buy now’, though for the price I’m also looking at a 29yo single cask Mannochmore. I had this down at 87 before.

Scores 88 points


[Bruichladdich] Octomore 7.3 2010/2015 5yo Ob. 63% WB88.05[213] WF91

  • N: Custard Creams is all I noted but this one sparkles. The bar is rammed and I find noise the most off-putting phenomena over visual distractions.
  • T: More Custard Creams with seaweed smoke – the kind of sweet vegetal profile I really like.
  • F: A touch of wash/beer plus vegetal-sour smoke.
  • C: What a cracker. I had it at 87 before, but with limited time constraints – and a less emotive atmosphere.

Scores 90 points today.

I’m reminded that Feis Ile isn’t necessarily about amazing whisky, old or new, it’s more about the social aspect. [PICS below – the calm before the storm].


Bruichladdich distillery entrance

[Bruichladdich] Octomore 8.1 [2009/2017] 8yo Ob. [42000 bts] 59.3% WB87.36[243] SW89 MR7/10

  • C: A highly competent & rounded expression, though a tad simpler & more spritely than the previous two Octomore’s. With 42000 bottles available, expect this to lap the auction circuit for years to come.

Scores 86, same as last year [Blog].





Bruichladdich Distillery Beach Front

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