I love Bruichladdich. Except for the color scheme.
I admire the fact that it’s a craft-oriented distillery that fits specific niche markets. It’s not your regular slug it back, slam it down, fill ‘er up Joe kind of a malt. Every one of their expressions is unique, coddled from beginning to end and given more care than most parents grant their children. In a word, Bruichladdich whiskies are … refined. Which might account for the distillery’s wonky nameless color.
And now back to that which I love. I love the fact that people haven’t given up on this distillery despite its many hardships, and that even though Bruichladdich has been mothballed more times than my granny’s winter wardrobe, it still comes back strong and willing, each time with a new slap of turquoise trim.
Not only are the folks who work at the distillery an admirable bunch, but they catapult themselves into a whole new realm of praiseworthiness by sharing the spotlight—and often times just by moving the light over to shine on those who are behind the scenes and usually not asked to show up for the press release with the paparazzi.
Jim McEwan’s nod to the Port Charlotte distillery (working from 1825-1925) resulted in the PC series 5-9 with #10 counting down the minutes until its debutante ball. Apparently, only one man yet existed on the island (of Islay) who remembered what the spirit tasted like. And even if he told Jim it tasted of shriveled sea worms and sharp pine sap, the master distiller waved his wand and made some magic.
The PC series is also a great big slap of thanks on the back to all those folks who were integral to the making of Bruichladdich’s success. Whether they were there as contractors for heavy machinery, have operated the mash ton, worked the bottling line or ran the stills, their mugs were slapped onto the canister labels as a way of saying, “We remember you, we’re grateful for you, and sadly, we’re still too poor to pay you.” I’m just guessing here, because I don’t own the entire series, but is there the face of someone who used to run the local paint shop? Someone who contributed buckets and buckets of white and the chloranemic aquamarine color that the boys at the shop realized was a pigment error and needed to donate anyway? I’m just wondering.
Regardless of that infinitesimal irritation, you just can’t help but root for this hard-working group of folks. When given the thumbs up to reopen in 2001, they looked around the warehouses and realized they had a mismatched collection of stock, machinery that was held together by duct tape and paper clips and a handful of years to get their act together before they could sell what they were newly churning out.
Yes, some criticized them for their extravagant experiments and a line with as many as 35 releases, but what was a company to do about creating brand loyalty when they had no stable brand for folks to become attached to? I say (and this is just me on my little soap box) the world has enough people trying to squish creativity. Maybe take three steps back to see the big picture. Sir Sackier says, “Life is short; you spend a long time dead,” which to me means try something new and often.
Maybe this also means the funky not-quite-blue-not-quite-green color the distillery is so fond of is part of their ‘We Are Distinctive’ campaign. In which case, yes, I noticed, and well done to the marketing division.
So, although I won’t try a new coat on the living room wall, I happily tried something from the line of the Port Charlotte series. Watch Bruichladdich’s master distiller, Jim McEwan, tell you all about PC7. I did, and after seeing him almost do a little happy dance of joy while describing it, I decided it was my next worthy purchase.
Take a peak and enjoy their humble vision and versions.