The Bruichladdich distillery, in its role of exploring terroir in the whisky industry, has amongst its various offerings the Barley Exploration series. This three part line up, it is said, explores “the flavour impact of where, what and how barley – the essential raw ingredient – is grown, evoking a true sense of place.”
Having recently released Islay Barley 2013, the other two expression now join the series – Organic Barley 2011 and Bere Barley 2012.
“Our Barley Exploration series originally began in pursuit of flavour, but it has grown into so much more,” said Head Distiller, Adam Hannett, in a prepared statement. “Barley is integral to the whisky-making process and we have subsequently become fascinated with the growing process, heritage grains and natural crops – and how every aspect can elevate the drinking experience.
“It is also an opportunity for us to support the farmers who grow for us. By partnering with them we can truly push the boundaries of what we can achieve with barley, discovering new flavours and resurrecting long forgotten ones. Ultimately, it’s about reconnecting our whisky with its vital raw ingredient.”
Made with 100% Scottish Barley, Bruichladdich Organic Barley 2011 is made from barley cultivated at Mid Coul farm in Inverness, Scotland. In combination with slow distillation and matured solely on Islay, official tasting notes make mention that “on the nose there are notes of crème brûlée, sweet cantaloupe, water mint and lemon rind. Hints of toasted oak, barley flour, creamy vanilla fudge and ripe pear can be detected on the palate, before moving to a luxurious finish of golden syrup with a subtle maritime sea breeze.
For Bruichladdich Bere Barley 2012, the distillery has been working with the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Agronomy Institute since 2005 to reintroduce Bere barley, considered an ancient grain, to the whisky industry. Having matured for ten years in first fill ex-bourbon casks, official tasting notes make mention of :zesty lime, creamy vanilla, green apples and honeysuckle can be detected on the nose. On the palate, distinct cereal notes give way to apple crumble and warm scones, with hints of stoned fruits and smooth honey, before a rich finish of gingerbread, milk chocolate and marzipan.”
Rounding out the trio is Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2013, distilled using barley grown solely on Islay and sourced from seven different local farms. For this release it has been matured in a mix of first-fill American and second-fill European oak casks, with what’s described as “a harmonious balance between oak and barley. Delicate cereal notes open into honeyed porridge and lemon meringue pie, before a long and gentle finish with hints of sweet apricot jam and smooth melted fudge.”
The Barley Exploration series can be purchased at selected specialist whisky retailers, with each whisky pricing starting from £65.
Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...