-> 2007 -> Islay Whisky and Farming

Thursday, 20/Dec/2007

Islay Whisky and Farming

Just two days ago I mentioned that Whisky, tourism and farming are major employers on Islay, in the Legend of Laphroaig Book review I mentioned the farm distilleries, the original version of the distillery. Today some news came in how Bruichladdich tries to bring local Islay farming and whisky distilling together again. Here are 6 Islay farmers in the Bruichladdich still house, witnessing the first spirit being made from their local 2007 barley harvest:

Picture of a group of people (farmers and whisky distillers) in a still house

Back row (L to R):
Mark French (Rockside Farm), Alastair Torrance (Strathlaggan Farm), Gilby McCormick (Gortan Farm), Duncan McGillivray Bruichladdich Distillery Manager, Mark Reynier Bruichladdich MD, Neil MacTaggart Bruichladdich Stillman, James Brown (Octomore Farm)

Front row, seated (L to R):
Jim Logan (Dunlossit Estate), Ian Torrance (Starchmill Farm) and Ian McKerrell (Island Farm)

Picture of James Brown lifting a glass of spirit at a whisky safe

According to Bruichladdich they have been persuading farmers to grow directly for them since 2001. Sourcing everything locally provides ultimate traceability as well as maximum flavour individuality, as they keep each origin separately. Apparently the farmers are quite competitive, each claiming their whisky tastes best. One has a slight advantage though, after all the water for Bruichladdich comes from James Brown's Octomore Farm. I wonder how they will be sold once matured, will there be individual bottlings from each Islay farm?

Interestingly enough one of the farmers is a whisky distiller himself: Mark French's Rockside Farm is home to Kilchoman Distillery, another distillery where they are planning to do as much as possible locally. Additional competition for the best 100% local Islay whisky?

Oh, and I've got futures from both distilleries. I know that the Kilchoman (distilled in 2006) will be bottled in August 2011, the Bruichladdich Octomore (distilled in October 2002) I guess some time over the next 2-4 years. Whenever Jim McEwan thinks it's ready...

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