Bruichladdich was not a distillery we had originally planned to visit. We had a list of must visit distilleries while in Scotland which were: Bowmore, Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Highland Park. We felt that anything we visited beyond these four distilleries would simply be a bonus.
When it comes to Bruichladdich, people either love the brand or they hate it. We were on the fence about the brand and had absolutely no expectations going into the tour. If someone were to ask now me what distillery is a must visit in Islay, I will boldly say, the Bruichladdich Warehouse tour is a MUST, whether you are a fan of the brand or not.
So, lets get started! The day we drove out to the distillery was a cold and rainy, which made it perfect for whisky drinking. By then, my boyfriend had gotten a bit used to driving on the opposite side of the road so… he didn’t have to tell me to stop freaking out or screaming (yeah that happened, more than once). We arrived a little early, so we waited in the gift shop till our tour got under way.
Our first tour was the general distillery tour and we had a group of about 10 to 12 people. The tour itself isn’t very long and our tour guide was the best we had seen yet. After being to several tours we understood the process but even then, she managed to keep our attention, as if we were learning it for the very first time. She was funny, witty and full of energy. But most importantly, she had a sense of pride not only about her job, but about the brand. When you have someone with that much passion giving the tour, you are bound to enjoy it more.
Here are few pics from the general tour:
The general tour was good, but what topped our experience was the Warehouse Tour. Now… let me explain to you why this was one of the best experiences we had while in Scotland and, why it should be something you do if you visit. Out of all the tours we took while in Scotland, which included Ardbeg, Bowmore, Laphroigh, Highland Park & Scapa, Bruichladdich was the only distillery that actually allowed us in the warehouse. We did see the warehouses of these other distilleries but we saw them through glass windows.
At Bruichladdich, you are literally drinking drams from a barrel while walking around aisles and aisles of barrels. The experience was absolutely mind blowing! With this tour we got the chance to try three of their whiskies, one of those being their famous Octomore. I have tried their Octomore before, but drinking it right out of the cask was even better.
Each dram was served with the expectation that we would take our time drinking while walking around and getting lost in-between the hundred of barrels. We did just that! We drank and got lost between the barrels. And, although there is a big chance you will leave the warehouse holding on to the railings, you leave with a memorable experience.
After our full experience, we hung around their gift shop leaving the distillery a few hundred pounds poorer. Among our purchases, a bottle of their Valinch (See pics below) which you can only get there at the distillery, a bottle of their Black Art (Edition 05.1: Aged 24 years, I’ve previously their 04.1 Edition as well, click the Black Art link to read about that one), a bottle of their Botanist Gin (at the time we didn’t know we could find it here) and a whole bunch of knickknacks.
Hands down the second best tour of our visit (Highland Park being the best – that post coming soon) and we would do this tour all over again. If you find yourself in Islay, take this tour. You will not regret the experience!
Note: The contents on my blog are solely my opinion. To me every palate is different! Although I may or may not like a product, I always recommend for people to try it and make up their own minds.