Whisky with a Higher Purpose

Nov 15, 2023
Bartenders Corner I

An Insider’s perspective on Bruichladdich Distillery Co

Nestled on Islay, in the Scottish Hebrides, the Bruichladdich Distillery Company is on a mission. They’re not just crafting great, natural, thought-provoking, and enjoyable spirits, but doing so with an industry-leading level of commitment to environmental and social responsibility.


While many brands talk about sustainability, Bruichladdich backs it up with concrete actions. To learn more, we spoke to Bruichladdich Global Brand Ambassador, Abigail Clephane about a distillery that believes in business a force for good and the power of our choices as producers and consumers to drive change.

How did you come to work for Bruichladdich?

“I was working in a bar in Glasgow when I was asked to apply for the job of UK brand ambassador for Bruichladdich,” says Abigail, “and I’d always loved the brand.”

“I can still remember the first time I tried Bruichladdich. Somebody was telling me all about the distillery’s values and philosophy, and I was like, ‘this sounds right up my street. I started as UK ambassador and was then asked to join the global team.”

What makes Bruichladdich Distillery so unique? What sets it apart?

“Honestly, pretty much everything. But for the most part, it’s our mindset; it’s how we think about the industry. Our whisky industry was set in its ways for a long time, and we want to be the antidote to that, whether we’re talking about sustainability, packaging, or how we fit into our community on Islay. Whatever it is, we want to start these conversations.”

Of nine distilleries on Islay, Bruichladdich is the third smallest yet the largest private employer on the Island, working hard to spread value into the local community. Bruichladdich works with 20 Islay farmers to grow just over 50% of the malting barley needed for this year’s whisky production, helping ensure the benefits of a booming Island whisky industry flow to local farmers. With terroir at the forefront of everything they do, Bruichladdich labels and traces different barley varieties from different farms and fields and insists on storing and maturing all their casks and every drop of whisky on the Island. By protecting historic Scottish barley varieties and encouraging local, sustainable agriculture, Bruichladdich adds richness and diversity to its island home while paving the way for an increasingly dynamic and self-sufficient Islay distilling industry.

Tell us what it means for Bruichladdich to be B Corp-certified.

“It means a lot to us, and it’s something we like to talk about, but I think the real value for us is that it’s a validation of how we’ve always acted as a distillery since we reopened in 2001,” says Abigail.

B Corp companies put people and the planet in line with profit and are recognised as meeting the highest social and environmental responsibility standards. Bruichladdich is one of only 5,000 B Corp-certified companies globally and the only whisky and gin distillery in Europe using business as a force for good.

“As a company like Bruichladdich, you want to make a profit, but you don’t want that to be at the expense of anyone else or the environment.”

Tell us one thing about Bruichladdich that most people don’t know.

“I think there’s nothing that people don’t know because we’re very vocal about everything! Transparency is at the heart of everything we do. That said, people often don’t know why the bottle is aqua-blue – it’s because that’s the colour of the sea on Islay when the sun shines.”

 The Bruichladdich Classic Laddie is one of only two unpeated Single Malts from Islay, with an elegant and floral style. It’s a complex recipe of different vintages and barley types, including Islay-grown and Organic barley parcels and a varied selection of Bourbon, Sherry, and fine wine casks.

The Bruichladdich Classic Laddie Tasting Notes

Speaking of bottles, why did you decide to change the classic Bruichladdich bottle?

“We’ve tried to keep the DNA of the old bottle, we’ve kept the colour, we’ve kept a similar shape, but it was time for us to do something aligned with the values we’re trying to put into the world. Our Bruichladdich bottle is now up to 60% recycled. It’s thinner, so we can fit more on a pallet and lighter, so transporting it has less environmental impact. We’ve also got rid of the tin. So, there’s about a 65% less carbon footprint overall.”

What sets The Botanist Gin apart from others?

“The story of The Botanist is an amazing one. People are very used to hearing the name of the Isle of Islay alongside whisky production. Still, we’re doing things differently by making gin.”

In a market awash with gin brands, The Botanist Islay Dry Gin is genuinely unique, created with 22 hand-foraged local Islay botanicals. Once the botanicals are dried, they are added to a muslin sack in a secret recipe known by only a few at the distillery. The bouquet of aromas from the bag is incredible and gives The Botanist its complex flavour palate.

“I think the 22 botanicals are what makes The Botanist so wildly versatile as a product,” says Abigail, “We start with the nine core gin botanicals in the pot still, so you get that nice spice, that nice citrus, that nice warmth in the finish of the gin. Then on the nose and the palate, the wild 22 Islay botanicals augment that with layers and layers and layers of flavour.”

The result is satin-smooth, gliding over the palate like no gin you have ever tried.

“The versatility of The Botanist is also something that sets it apart,” says Abigail, “It works for people that are not hugely into gin because it’s not led massively by any one flavour, but it also works well for people who love gin because it has that unbelievable complexity.”

The Botanist Islay Dry Gin Tasting Notes

If there’s one word that describes the Bruchladdich Distillery company, what would it be?


Putting people and community first while elevating transparency and terroir is paramount at Bruichladdich. These values attracted many Bruichladdich Australia Facebook community members who believe that where a whisky is distilled whisky should have a big influence on its character and authenticity. Bruichladdich brands are also attracting increasing numbers of consumers who want their brands to demonstrate genuine terroir, real sustainability and positive values.

Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie

The signature bottling and definitive Bruichladdich. Smooth as pebbles in a pool. It’s clean, fresh, and lively, with both the oak and the grain in perfect harmony.

Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2013

An exploration of local terroir, this 2013 Islay Barley release is distilled from barley grown on seven farms on the Isle of Islay.

Octomore Islay Single Malt Whisky

Distilled with quality not quantity in mind, these experimental, limited bottlings continue to push the boundaries of whisky making.

Port Charlotte 10 Single Malt Whisky

Peated to a heavyweight 40PPM, Port Charlotte single malt explores the complexities of natural whisky through barley provenance, cask influence and the passing of time.

The Botanist Islay Dry Gin

A gin of layered complexity, an exploration of the botanical heritage of the Isle of Islay.

If you’d like to stock Bruichladdich’s incredible brands, contact your Spirits Platform Representative today.

Products in this Post

Get in touch with your Spirits Platform State Manager

Greg Macarthur

NSW/ACT State Manager

Bridget Rogers

VIC/TAS State Manager

Kurt Morrison

QLD State Manager

Peter Drabsch

SA/NT State Manager

Casey Gray

WA State Manager

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