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Iconic Scottish Whisky Still Heads To Ireland To Share The Liquor Love

The island of Islay has lost one of its most recognized icons, while Ireland is gaining itself a new, but rather quite old actually, critical piece of distillery hardware for its reawakening whiskey scene.

The Waterford Distillery in Waterford, Ireland, is set to be the new home of an old copper pot still – formerly of the Bruichladdich distillery, and even further back of the shuttered Inverleven Distillery in Dumbarton – after it is refurbished and made new again. After sitting outside in front of Bruichladdich and serving as a landmark for 10 years, it will now be housed in one of Ireland’s old Guinness breweries in Waterford, being joined by a second unit formerly kept in storage in a village nearby the Scottish distillery.

Noted Scottish whiskey entrepreneur Mark Reynier is leading this new operation after successfully working at Bruichladdich in a revival starting back in 2000. Part of this revival involved the use of other equipment from Inverleven, including a mess of pipes, tanks, pumps and valves the distillery said was “to prove invaluable in refurbishing the old Victorian plant at Bruichladdich on a very tight budget.”

Bruichladdich Still
The famous Bruichladdich still is set to get a new lease on life with a new distillery. (image via Bruichladdich)

“We are delighted to be able to help Mark with an interim solution until his new stills are ready,” said Bruichladdich CEO, Simon Coughlin in a statement. “There will, of course, be a touch of sadness at the departure of what became an iconic symbol of the renaissance of Bruichladdich, but it is going to a good home and we hope that it helps in getting Mark’s new Irish whiskey project into production sooner than would otherwise be the case.

Reynier, according to The Spirits Business, insists the Waterford operation will “add some meat to the bones” of the Irish whisky category.  The use of barley will be a main focus for him alongside some experimental creations.

In an interesting side note, it has been the recent success of the Scotch whisky industry that has created such a shortage of appropriate stills. Originally, copper was chosen because it was readily available, easy to form and it worked extremely well in the presence of heat. Even after hundreds of years, copper is still the material of choice for new stills even though it’s now limited primarily to lining the stills and piping.

There are cheaper materials available for making stills, but this combination of construction materials keeps the copper in contact with the liquid creation while lowering the overall costs of the build. The copper helps to naturally filter out sulphur based materials and other impurities that might affect the flavor in negative ways. The copper pot stills need to be refurbished about every eight years on average due to the impurities they extract from the liquid.

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John Rayls

I am an Episcopal priest and live in beautiful San Antonio, TX. I’ve only been seriously drinking whiskey for about 10 years. However, I’ve attended multiple whiskey workshops and visited several distilleries and have sampled everything I could get my hands on. I prefer bourbon, but am always open to enjoying new whiskeys.

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