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Bruichladdich launches Islay’s first rye whisky

Rémy Cointreau-owned Bruichladdich Distillery has unveiled the first whisky to be classed as an Islay single grain Scotch.

Bruichladdich rye
Bruichladdich’s Islay Single Grain Scotch Whisky is the first rye whisky to be produced on Islay

This latest launch has been made primarily from locally grown Islay rye, and is a first for both the distillery and the island.

Islay Single Grain Scotch Whisky is the third release in the Bruichladdich Project series: The Regeneration Project.

The Regeneration Project was born out of a desire to combat the growing cost of agro-chemicals, avoid monoculture, reduce input and diversify crops. This has been done by implementing crop rotation on the land of Andrew Jones, Bruichladdich’s long-standing farming partner.

Jones decided to add rye to his rotation as it has the ability to sequester excess soil nitrate and boasts a fibrous root system that increases soil drainage, helping to conserve moisture.

Not only does this improve soil health, but it reduces costs for the farmer by being less reliant on artificial pesticides and fertilisers.

With no market, rye has never been grown in Islay before. However, keen to support its farming partner, Bruichladdich agreed to purchase Jones’ entire crop and turn it into whisky.

Douglas Taylor, CEO at Bruichladdich Distillery, said: “As a whisky distillery we are accountable for our impact from the ground up, and that starts with understanding where our essential raw ingredients come from, and how they are grown.

“We learned that rye is a hugely beneficial rotational crop which not only reduces the need for artificial input but improves soil health and structure – which matters.

“But with no market for Scottish grown rye, it begs the question – why would a farmer grow it? Well, we could buy it – and create a delicious whisky. All while supporting our vital farming partners, helping the environment and promoting soil health.

“Pursuing flavour while reducing our impact, The Regeneration Project is the start of something much bigger than whisky.”

First-of-its-kind whisky

Bottled at 50% ABV, The Regeneration Project Islay Single Grain Scotch Whisky is made up of 55% Islay grown rye and 45% locally grown Islay malted barley. Using a mix of first fill Bourbon casks and first fill American virgin oak casks, the whisky is non-chill-filtered, colouring free and fully traceable.

The resulting first-of-its-kind whisky is presented with a colour of golden syrup, with notes of spice delivered instantly on the nose, accompanied with waves of liquorice, black pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg which also speak of the grain and showcase the ‘unique characteristics’ that rye brings to the whisky.

Over time it is said that the Islay character is ‘unmistakable’, defined by maritime notes of the ocean, warm sand and delicate citrus and honey.

The softness of the whisky on the palate is counterbalanced by the rye’s spicy, peppery heat. Toasted virgin oak brings sweetness of marzipan, vanilla, and chocolate, all of which complements the spice of the rye and the citrus green fruit notes of the Islay grown barley.

Sweet, rich oak, ripe pear and green apple are followed by a delicate malty pastry, with vanilla custard settling on the finish.

This latest innovation from Bruichladdich Distillery is described as an example of how regenerative agricultural practices can positively impact both the planet and the flavour of whisky.

With sustainability at the forefront, The Regeneration Project is testament to the distillery’s vision to use its business as a force for good.

In May 2020, Bruichladdich became the first Scotch whisky and gin distillery in Europe to become B Corp certified.

The Regeneration Project is part of a small batch of 1,800 bottles. Priced at £125 (US$153.38), it is available online at

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