As an independent Distillery, we are not obliged to run the Distillery 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,
365 days a year. As we do not distill for blending or other industry players - the prime modus operandi
of all single malt distilleries - we are able to distill more slowly and carefully, extracting only the
very best spirit possible: trickle distillation.
Unusually, we operate a seven ton mash from the Spring through to the early Winter,
five days a week, using premium quality raw ingredients, a variety of types of barley,
and malting methods, as well as differing peating levels.
Consequently our production costs are higher but we are under no competitive obligation to produce the
lowest unit cost possible (we are only distilling for our own use)
The distilling team headed by Jim McEwan, is Distillery Manager Duncan McGillivray, Peter McDermid,
The Budgie, John Rennie, Jonathan Carmichael
All water used in the Distillery comes from our own reservoir in the hills behind the Distillery -
a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. From here it is fed to the Distillery by a dedicated
pipeline to holding reservoirs beside the still house.
An interesting variety of cask types will be used, not for 'finishing' the half hearted
fad in the industry for taking bland mature whisky and cooking it inside different wood types
under pressure for a short while in order to try to extract some flavours. No, this is full term
aging in Fresh Sherry, Rum, Madeira, Bourbon and Port wood.
Most whisky distilled on Islay is stored on the mainland for convenience, far from the seaside
and brine influences of Islay's Atlantic shores. Bruichladdich stores all its whisky on the
island. Port Charlotte whisky will be stored in the old Distillery of Port Charlotte three miles away,
while Bruichladdich will remain on site.
In the old days, casks were filled at the strength straight from the spirit receiver, about 70% vol.
However, in the last twenty years or so, the policy throughout Scotland has been to reduce the strength,
prior to filling the casks, from 70% to 60%.
The reasoning was that since there was going to be natural evaporation (the Angels' Share) and consequently
a reduction over the years of the strength, and since water was going to be added prior to bottling anyway
to reduce to 40%, it would be more economical to reduce the spirit's strength in the first place. Less duty to pay too.
At Bruichladdich, in keeping with our traditional methods of production, we will be reverting to the old way,
and will be filling casks at their full natural strength - straight from the still.
Jim's exhaustive tastings over the years of many whiskies from the sixties and older together with
Murray McDavid's experiences indicate that there is an advantage to be had in the flavour profile.
If one's going to do it at all, one might as well do it properly.
An excellent result was obtained from this first distillation in 2001 and has been most encouraging.
The elegance of spirit derived from the tall Bruichladdich stills producing a pure spirit with aromas of peat -
but without the medicinal or oily characteristics associated with highly peated malted barley.
This is distilled from barley malted to 35 - 40 ppm (in honour of the original style of Bruichladdich from 1881).
Port Charlotte accounts for roughly 13% of whisky distilled annually.
Availability and distillation dates for specific cask types may vary. Volumes quoted are approximate
as casks may vary slightly.
OLA = Original Litres of (100%) Alcohol.
Butt Hogshead Barrel
Barrels: - 200 Bulk litres - 140 OLA
Fresh Bourbon - £ 775
Hogsheads: - 250 Bulk litres - 175 OLA
Fresh Sherry £1200
Prices quoted are per cask UNDER BOND, excluding Duty & VAT, lying at the Distillery.
The quantity of whisky distilled each year at Bruichladdich is small. Casks will generally be available to the
public only from the first two distillations. Subsequently, a limited number of casks will be made available
annually on a first come first served basis.
· Casks have been used primarily as a form of receptacle to store and transport whisky to the market place or bottler, rather than merely an aid to maturation.
· Legally Scotch whisky must be aged in oak casks. The most readily available source at the time – the Sherry industry – was thriving in the UK with the majority bottled there rather than in Spain. Consequently a ready supply of redundant, empty casks was available for filling with whisky.
· The flavours of the previous contents of a cask such as Sherry or Bourbon are leeched from the wood by the ageing spirit which will have a direct effect on colour and bouquet of the malt if left naturally. Casks recently emptied of their original contents exude a greater influence on the maturing whisky.
· ‘Fresh’ Sherry Casks Over the last fifteen years Bourbon casks have replaced the dwindling number of freshly used sherry casks since all sherry is bottled in Spain. With the solera system of production, there are very few spare casks available, thus the supply of fresh sherry casks has thus been dramatically reduced. Fresh sherry casks can over dominate a weaker whisky, or if matured for too long.
· ‘Bourbon’ Casks Since Prohibition, Bourbon production law ensures that oak casks can be used only once for maturation of Bourbon – these redundant casks are dismantled and shipped to Scotland where they are reassembled and used. Now 90% or more of the casks used for filling with whisky are ex-bourbon hogsheads. The more subtle flavours from Bourbon casks can show off the true attributes of a well made whisky to its best. conversely a poorly made malt will be exposed.
· ‘Refill’ Casks. All casks are re-coopered to keep them in use for as long as possible often with three or four fillings or more, thus a reduced influence on the contents; these are known as. The colour and flavour imparted is reduced each time the cask is used.
Also referred to as ‘double matured’. A dubious current fad where mature, but bland whiskies, are put into more interesting cask types in an effort to obtain some character. Typically a whisky is put in a separate cask from that in which it has been aged, both under high pressure and heated in an effort to leach as much flavour as possible in as short a time from the wood. The marketing men’s dream. Such finishes include Port wood, Madeira wood, Claret wood etc. – even Islay Wood – for a Speyside whisky! Whatever next?
Casks will be stored free of charge for the first 10 years, after which an annual charge will be made.
(Currently £20 per annum for a hogshead).
Bruichladdich casks will be stored, under bond, at the Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay, Argyll,
Scotland, PA49 7UN. Port Charlotte casks (heavily peated) will be stored in the Port Charlotte warehouse.
One of the mysteries of whisky. Three factors to be taken in to consideration:
The age of the warehouse – whether with traditional earth floored, low racking two casks high, or modern concrete construction with high racking to the ceiling – ten casks tall.
The location of the warehouse – the majority are at or close to the site of distillation; some, notably the larger companies, are stored centrally for convenience e.g. Perthshire or Lanarkshire, thus reducing the specific localised effects, especially if a coastal distillery.
The site of the warehouse - some have notoriously exerted extra special influences on the whiskies aged within them; for example warehouse 1 at Ardbeg, or Bowmore’s best warehouse that abuts the very sea itself. Malts in these warehouses have aged differently to others on the same site.
After ten years your whisky can be either bottled, sold, part exchanged or further matured. Whisky evaporates
(the Angel's Share) from the cask at about 2.5% per annum, while the alcohol level falls from the filling strength
of 70% to 40% after 40 years; the longer it is kept for, the less there is - but the better it gets.
The whisky can be bottled at the Distillery in our own bottling hall at the prevailing rates at that time -
currently £30 a case of 12 bottles, which includes bottles, corks, capsules, basic label and cartons:
Join Malt Crusader, the Bruichladdich club, to learn how to taste with Jim McEwan and see film of First Edition
Distillery Standard Practices
The Whisky will not be chill-filtered. This is a commercial process that all standard whiskies undergo to remove
proteins that can cause a haze in the bottle. The removal of these proteins considerably reduces both the depth
and `breadth` of flavour of the whisky. The whisky will be caramel free, the natural colour and will not be
Individual cask bottling
Each cask will be bottled separately to preserve the individuality and quality; casks will not be vatted
together unless specifically requested.
We recommend bottling at 46% vol. - the lowest strength possible for whiskies that are not chill-filtered.
Cask strength (around 60% vol.) is also possible according to taste and age., but fewer bottles will be obtained.
Our Casks are filled at the true spirit safe strength of 70% straight from the still, and are not be diluted prior
to filling, as is usual practice. 'Cask Strength' would therefore be higher than usually encountered.
Number of Bottles
This varies and is not exact, but for a hogshead, bottled at 46% vol., in 70cl bottles, after 10 years one
would expect about 380 bottles; after 20 years about 290. At cask strength of say 60% one would expect 300 70cl
bottles after ten years and 190 after 20 years.
For trademark purposes, one can not use the actual distillery label or bottle shape. However a personalised
label can be provided based on a general template. Should there be any special design requirements such as logos,
colour, design work required then the owner of the cask would need to provide finished labels to a specification
provided by ourselves. There are certain legal requirements that must be met, dependant on country. Advice can be given.
Bottled stocks can also be further stored under bond until required. Once bottled, the whisky can still be stored
under bond and despatched in case quantities (minimum 12 bottles), paying duty, delivery and VAT only on what
leaves the warehouse, thereby spreading the duty and VAT payments. Bottled stocks can also be further stored
under bond until required; there is cased goods storage charge.
In accepting this order, the company expects the purchaser to offer the distillery the opportunity to reacquire
your cask if it becomes surplus to your requirements on a 'first refusal' basis, at the market rate prevailing
at that time.
The cask will need to be regauged to confirm it's current contents - the Angel's Share,
the evaporation from the cask, is not much more than 2% per annum. Once the contents are verified,
a price per Regauged Litre of Alcohol (RLA) is employed to work out the offer value for the cask and it's contents.
The price offered will depend on the actual regauge figure, the type of single malt, the cask type age and market
value prevailing at that time. No taxes are due if sold under bond.
You may wish to exchange a proportion of your cask in order to meet Duty, Vat and bottling charges of around £120 a case.
By exchanging two thirds of the cask, the remaining third of the cask will be delivered to you in the
UK, bottled, labelled Duty and Vat paid - with no further charges. Approximately, in order to obtain 10
cases from a Hogshead of 12/1 70 cls at 46%. The ratio would be slightly different at cask strength.
The longer the whisky is matured, the more complex it will become. There is a maximum of around
thirty to thirty five years. Insurance and Storage are included with your purchase for a ten year period
and this will expire after the stated period of ten years. Further five year periods of insurance and storage
can be purchased at that time if required.
Duty is the tax on the % of pure alcohol, payable to Her Majesty's Customs and Excise. This tax must be
paid if the whisky is removed from bond, for example if one is to physically take delivery of the whisky.
The current UK Duty rate for a case of 12 bottles (70cls) at 46% vol. is £75.58. A hogshead after 10 years
maturing would contain the equivalent of about 30 cases of 12 bottles (70cls) at 46% vol. The Duty rate is subject
to change and is dependant on the annual Chancellor's Budget. Various different rates of Duty apply throughout the EU,
and the rest of the world. UK Duty is not payable if the cask is sold back to the distillery 'under bond'.
VAT is currently 17.5%. This is charged on the cost price of the whisky at the time of purchase, together
with the duty rate prevailing at the time of removal from the bonded warehouse. VAT is due if the cask is
removed from the bonded warehouse, for example for delivery. VAT rates differ throughout the world. UK VAT is
not payable if the cask is sold back to the distillery 'under bond'
If the whisky is for export out of the EU (or to a registered importer within the EU) Duty and Vat can be
suspended (but not avoided) subject to the exporter being registered for both Duty and Vat, and being registered
as a bona fide exporter. Duty and Vat would be payable in the country of final destination at the rates prevailing
in that country at that time. It is up to the cask owner to find a suitable importer in to his preferred destination
country, and arrange this.
For UK tax payers, UK Capital Gains Tax is not applicable as whisky is regarded as a "tangible", moveable
and "wasting asset". Whisky purchased in cask for personal use, as gifts for family, godchildren and
friends etc would therefore be exempt from Capital Gains Tax on realisation of the asset.
Current charges are:
Bottling costs: per case 12 bottles, labelled, £30
Regauging Fee: £25
Samples charge: £15 + duty, + P & P
Change of Ownership Fee: £15
Cased goods rental: £8 per case per year
UK Delivery costs: £15 per single case UK mainland, reduced rates for larger volumes.
Once bottled, stocks can be retained 'under bond' (Duty and VAT free) and drawn down on in three case units.
This ensures that Duty & Vat are only paid prior to despatch, rather than on the whole cask contents.
Case storage rental is applicable. Within the UK, Cases can be delivered to any UK address.
Cases can be collected, upon payment of a duty, vat, (and delivery) invoice from either the Distillery,
or our Glasgow or London warehouses.
Duty-paid deliveries cannot be made in European Union countries, unless the goods are physically accompanied by
the owner. Cases can be exported to the EU and worldwide, under-bond (without paying UK duty and Vat) but
only according to the importation laws and taxes of the destination country, and via an accredited importer.
We can assist with arranging this and would charge at prevailing rates at the time.
Please direct all correspondence to Cask Owner, The Bruichladdich Distillery Company, Bruichladdich,
Islay, Scotland, PA49 7UN. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A certificate of ownership will be issued upon the allocation to you of the cask for display purposes. However the Delivery Order is the officially registered piece of paper with Her Majesty's Customs & Excise that needs to be guarded carefully. E & OE