As my friends know i was supposed to go over to Islay for a few days on Thursday , not only to see old friends but to bottle my Bloodtub at the distillery on Friday afternoon . We travelled up to Kennacraig only to find out that due to adverse weather conditions all the ferries were cancelled ( they didn't get back to normal until the saturday afternoon i gather ) . Extremely disappointed we rang up the distillery to inform them we wouldn't be arriving for the bottling but just to carry on as i already had the labels printed for that days date .
Getting back home we settled down on the Friday to watch what bits of the process we could on their famous webcams (wonder if the CIA were watching too ?) . This is where the good folks of Bruichladdich really swung into action , pulling out all the stops they moved the camera about to show what was going on , held cards up with various bits of info on . and gave us a wonderful sight at the very end ........
We would like to thank all at Bruichladdich for the effort they put into our bottling in Particular Simon Coughlin and his Bottling hall crew, Michael on the webcams for providing us with some captures for our website and the Laddie "Lassies" Mary and Ella .
They didn't have to do this for us but we are so glad they did , i don't think there are many places let alone distilleries that would have went this far !
So i for one will be defending the Laddie to the hilt in the future .
Best wishes and many thanks to the Laddie
Gordon and Mel
P.S. No before anyone asks .....
To me Bruichladdich is exploring its options in many ways. There is quite a bit of creative juices flowing there which reflects back upon them in many ways.
For the island itself they are doing great things like the bottling line, bringing employment for people who would easily be out of the loop on an island where economics are hard enough as they are.
They are also exploring their options when it comes to new expressions. Some of them might not appeal to malt heads such as us, but if it helps them to survive I see no problems at all. And do not forget, the same creative force brought us bottlings like the 3D, which is quite innovative AND in my opinion one I have high regards for. I opened the Moine Mhor (2nd release 3D) last friday and I like it even more then the first edition!
I love Bruichladdich. They are showing a fresh face, bring a lot of good to Islay and a pleasant suprise now and then to us maltheads. It might be less appealing to conservationalists (sp?), but no innovation or exploration means standing still.
Good to see they did what they could to save your fun in bottling your cask =)
Ever since the distillery re-opened i've been a fan of these guys , i've made lots of what i hope i can call friends there even though i don't necessarily agree with their policy of "enhancing" their product (if you don't like it , you don't have to buy it ! ) but i have bought enough to know i generally like their whisky . I agree Jeroen , the 2nd edition is better than the 1st , a crackin' dram .
This would have been our 14th trip over to Islay since 1999 (i think! ) , as you both know it's a wonderful place to visit at anytime of the year , the people are the friendliest we've come across , there's always a warm welcome at any of the distilleries , your almost like a long lost relative when you walk in ! But it's just not in the distilleries , it's from all Ileachs . We are really pining for the place at the moment as we had to cancel our summer trip as well so we haven't been there since the festival . we are in the process of arranging a trip over at easter , we can't hang on till the festival ! Besides we need to catch up with the gossip at Bruichladdich and Ardbeg !!!!!
The article seems to be cut-off halfway through though ...
Thanks for the heads up .
to explain i'll go back to thurs afternoon at work , I got a phone call from an Edinburgh number which i answered as you never know what could have come up . It was from a journalist connected with the scottish press , a first i thought it was a wind up because he wanted to know about my abortive attempt to get across for my cask bottling . After learning he got my number from Mark Reynier , i told him the story , after a 15 minute conversation i pointed him towards my website as he wanted some photo's and a bit more info . At the end he said it might not get took up but who knows .
That is the full , i managed to pick up a copy and Basically it has a photo of the bottles / cask on the table , a photo of me and the following ....
"Gordon curses dram weather"
A Dram lover who waited four years to open his own cask of whisky had his big day ruined - by the weather .
Gordon Homer , 44 , couldn't get to the distillery on Islay because storms put paid to ferry services . But his trip from newcastle wasn't totally wasted , as the cask-opening was filmed on webcams so he could watch .
He said " The folk of Bruichladdich pulled out all the stops ."
well there ya go .....
Managed to get a scanning of the article
It certainly makes for a different experience when in business dealings or in one's personal life when other's help to make a disappointing situation into a better one for you. Your story speaks volumes on the attentiveness and consideration of the staff at the Bruichladdich Distillery.
I am unfamiliar with the in's and out's of purchasing your own cask. Could you explain the term "bloodtubs" and are bloodtubs the typical cask size or only available size that most people order? Thirty-nine bottles seems like a good personal cache to bring home at the end of the day. Enjoy!
thanks for your kind words .
The Bloodtub is a small spanish cask (someone will probably point this out as being wrong but this is what i got told as i didn't have a clue what they were either until i bought one!) holding approx 32 litres when first filled . They were only available the first few weeks of the cask offer in 2001 . I remember Jim saying they were only about 80 filled so a bit of a rarity , what appealed to me was the fact that you could own some Islay whisky for under £200 compared to the £775 for a barrel , it wasn't going to cost a fortune in Bottling and duty costs !
I just hope that fellow Bloodtub owners (only a couple have bottled so far but a few others do know ) are aware of how much faster the thing matures and how much effect the sherry is having on the spirit , it's Dark !! It's just a shame they aren't going to refill the tubs but i'm sure i'll find something to put in it .
Thanks for the information. Indeed, the price of the Bloodtub is right compared to a barrel. I am, however, a bit surprised that your whisky purchase included the actual cask to take home with you. I thought that you would only be purchasing the content and the cask would be reused by the distillery for someone else. Does this mean that the distillery felt that these 80 casks were on their last leg? With your description of the whisky being a very dark, sherry expression, it sounds like the casks still have a lot of life in them. Would Bruichladdich repurchase the cask, if offered? And, out of curiousity (if you don't mind), when you refer to "dark", do you mean an orange amber dark? It sounds lovely.
Thanks again, Gordon.
The Bloodtubs were all fresh casks , i think the reason they are not refilling is that they've been a bit of a pain to look after (we were told they were re-racked into new fresh tubs again last December ) , someone on my Yahoo group has also been told that they might stop selling Port Charlotte to the public next year . So yes the tubs have a lot of life in them !
To answer one of your questions , no i wouldn't sell back my cask , i want to keep it , it'll make a lovely little occasional table at some point !
I haven't seen the colour in person , but it looks dark on the webcams , some wag asked if it was Newcastle Brown Ale they were putting in for me !!!!
The other main difference is that the Bloodtubs were filled with fresh spirit whereas the quarter casks had already maturing whisky put in them ....... or so i understood.
BTW the article has also appeared in the Press and Journal Newspaper ( based in the Speyside / Highland area i believe) .
If I owned such a cask, I would be very tempted to do some "finishing" experiments. Get all your buddies to throw in a bottle each of Laphroaig CS, say, and rebottle it after a few months.
I was also reading your thread on Bruichladdich and enjoyed seeing your bottling & cask photo. I had a photo (Islay single malt tasting in the Northwoods) I wanted to post under my message but I couldn't get the insert to work. How did you insert your photo in your message?
Bob & Jill, Colorado
first off you have to have the photo on a server somewhere on the net ( mine are on the server that holds my website , they could be in a yahoo group album etc ). when you write your posting you click the Img button at the top an Img in enclosed brackets  appears , then you write the url where the image is stored http://www.mysite.net/images/user.jpg for example , then you click the same button to insert a /Img in closed brackets  .
Simple as that.....
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