When dealing with a product like Scotch whisky, for which history, heritage and tradition have long been significant selling points, it’s rare to come across an offering that’s truly different and dares to push against the accepted wisdom of what a good Scotch should be. But even just a glance at the bottle housing Bruichladdich’s The Classic Laddie should clue you in to the fact that this is a brand completely disinterested in holding on to tradition for tradition’s sake.
Without ever compromising on the quality of their whiskies, the team at Bruichladdich are wholeheartedly devoted to sustainability, terroir (meaning authenticity, place and provenance), transparency, and the barley and people of Islay, the island their distillery calls home. They’re determined to pave the path to a new kind of whisky production; one that’s progressive, sustainable and embodies a devotion to the planet and its people.
This is reflected in Bruichladdich’s status as one of only six distilleries worldwide to achieve B Corp Certification. While the others on the list may make vodka, rum, limoncello or gin, Bruichladdich is focused on whisky and whisky alone. But what is B Corp Certification and why does it matter? It’s a designation that a business is meeting the highest standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on a broad range of factors, encompassing everything from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials.
Obviously, you don’t meet standards like that by doing things the old-fashioned way, which is why the bedrock for Bruichladdich’s flagship Classic Laddie whisky is not some unalterable recipe that’s prioritised above all else. Instead, Bruichladdich has a distilling philosophy that replaces a slavish devotion to product uniformity with a courageous authenticity that is genuine and unique.
Dare to be Different
From one year to the next, the team at Bruichladdich let the variety and provenance of their barley shape the spirits while also sourcing an ever-increasing range of casks that evolve the suite of flavours in their warehouse. As a result of this, each batch of The Classic Laddie will, by the very nature of its surroundings and the barley that grows within them, offer something unique and subtly different. It’s then up to the head distiller to curate this assemblage of Bruichladdich’s finest spirits, to showcase the brand’s floral and elegant house style.
In fact, so comfortable is Bruichladdich with the ever-evolving recipe for Classic Laddie that every bottle has a batch code printed on the back of the bottle, which you can enter on the Bruichladdich website to reveal the unique recipe for that specific bottle. Check your bottle here.
Inventing the Future
This approach has empowered Bruichladdich to do away with certain elements of whisky production that are accepted as common or even good practice in other distilleries. The first of these is the addition of caramel colouring (or e150a), which many producers use to standardise the appearance of their whisky by making it appear darker than it really is. By contrast, the colour of Bruichladdich’s whiskies comes from the cask and plays second fiddle to the actual flavour. This explains The Classic Laddie’s signature coated bottle, which is designed to challenge the idea that older and darker is necessarily better. Instead, the masters at Bruichladdich’s innovative approach pushes a reliance on other indicators of quality.
The second practice Bruichladdich’s team has done away with is the use of chill-filtration, which is a cosmetic process used to strip whisky of its natural oils. When bottling at 40 per cent, these oils can cause cloudiness, so many distillers remove them to improve aesthetics. But that’s just not the Bruichladdich way.
Instead of removing cloudiness and adding colouring to standardise aesthetics, the Bruichladdich team would rather rely on flavour and mouthfeel to determine quality. And when the standard’s this high, who cares if there’s a haze in the glass or colour variation from one batch to the next?
The new approach to Scotch whisky being forged by Bruichladdich is impressive, yielding remarkable results across its entire unpeated single malt Scotch whisky range. The fact the brand achieves all of this while running on 100 per cent green electricity sourced from within the UK just makes it more impressive still. It’s encouraging to know that with Bruichladdich leading the way, Scotch whisky’s sustainable future looks brighter by the day. To get on board and try Classic Laddie for yourself, visit Dan Murphys, Liquorland, Vintage Cellars, First Choice Liquor and independent liquor retailers.