stead of a dry white wine. Not really that similar to most Speysides, then, and practically
on another planet compared to an Islay dram.
After saying goodbye to John at the airport there's a quick dash to Toby and Harriet's
farm so Oliver can dump his bags then he, Ann and I zip round to Bruichladdich. We're
running a little late and it's on this journey, on a cheekily tightening bend sculpted into the
dunes north of Bowmore, that I discover the Land Rover's ability to set its tyres a-squeal-
ing. My passengers forbear to make similar noises, but I suspect it's a close-run thing. We
proceed a little more circumspectly after this and arrive safely at Bruichladdich, which
faces across Loch Indaal towards distant Bowmore.
Bruichladdich is a distillery on the way back. It was closed between 1996 and 2001 and
has anyway tended to be one of the Islay also-rans. Most malt drinkers would know it's
an Islay even if they might not be certain how to pronounce it (with Bruichladdich and
Bunnahabhain, luck has handily put the two arguably most tongue-twisting whiskies on
the one island, and even had them start with the same letter). Your average malt tippler
might also have a vague recollection of a light blue bottle label and a rather un-Islay-ish
lack of peat on the nose, but that would be about it for anybody who wasn't already a
committed fan of the stuff.
This could all be about to change; there's a new guy in charge called Duncan McGillv-
ray who has a reputation as an adept marketeer, there are new - and very interesting-
sounding - expressions on the way, new technologies and old traditions are blending har-
monically and there's a general air of optimism and energy about the place. Maybe it
helped that we visited on another sparklingly sunny day, though I think the sunniness was
more in people's disposition. It also matters a great deal to the people we talk to - and
should probably matter a fair bit to us consumers - that the distillery is owned not by
some giant impersonal multinational, but by a consortium of people who live on Islay it-
self, so any money made here is likely, largely, to stay.
I get out my little Black n' Red alphabetically indexed notebook and prepare to start
Covering The Story.
Notes: a note .
Taking notes; this is not like me. I usually just remember stuff, or very occasionally jot
briefly in my diary if I happen to have it on me, or scribble something in the margin of
my telephone list or CD list. Long ago in my wallet I used to carry a tiny notebook which
I'd made myself; it was smaller than some stamps I've seen - I can write very small - but
that was back when I was about twenty or so and having loads of ideas all the time; now
I'm officially a boring old bastard of nearly 50 I don't have the same number of ideas