This is a Lazarus whisky, the first single malt from one of Islay’s legendary distilleries, Bruichladdich, back from the dead on 29th May 2001under new and collective ownership, reborn on that day with the first cask of its whisky produced by its signature traditional methods.
On 29th May 2001, the honour of ‘filling’ that first cask was given to ‘Wee Ruari’, the five month old son of the distillery’s other legend, inspirational manager, Mark Reynier. It was his idea to buy the distillery into independent production. He then managed and stage managed the reborn distillery to a rolling success story, with a thrilling and ever inventive series of firsts.
We saw at first hand just how Reynier revolutionised the marketing of single malt Scotch. Always the master of the image and the master of ceremonies, he sent out stunning visual images no one could resist using; and he came up with fun ideas, events and sponsorships. All of these propelled the name of Bruichladdich into the spotlight and all of them underlined it cool sassiness with a hint of butch.
On 29th May 2001, while young Ruari was there in spirit, so to speak, his fond papa may have given him a little hand in filling Cask I.
That cask eventually yielded 376 bottles.
In the meantime, Bruichladdich’s success as a true independent was such that it became a target for the big spirits multinationals. On 25th July 2012, less than a year ago, the distillery was sold by its 60 shareholders to Remy Cointreau. [The story of that deal is here.] The only shareholder to oppose the deal was Mark Reynier, whose skills and imagination had driven its success.
With characteristic philosophical grace, Me Reynier understood the position of the other 59 shareholders who preferred to secure their personal finances and take the profit on the sale. He declined an offer to stay with the distillery, wished it well and walked away.
Now he and the not-so-wee now 13 year old Ruari, have asked Inveraray’s celebrated Scotch whisky specialist outlet, Loch Fyne Whiskies, under Master of Whisky, Richard Joynson, to sell 250 of the 376 bottles Cask I produced.
The family will retain the others and the 250 offered for sale to collectors are predictably vanishing at speed.
Loch Fyne Whiskies has made the decision to offer access to this historic malt to its own customers before they are all gone.
This whisky is not only unique and historic, it marks success and loss in a single dram. It measures the span of Mark Reynier’s life-saving connection with the distillery.
No Bruichladdich collection – and no single malt collection – will be complete without a ‘Wee Ruari’ – a 70cl single cask bottling, 11 years old, 46% Abv – an absolute one-off.