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Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2010 Heralded as an All Island Barley Expression

Islay’s Bruichladdich distillery has developed a reputation for being an innovator and risk taker when it comes to their whisky experiments. One of these focuses happens to be the occasional release of an Islay Barley expression making use of barley malt grown on the famous Scotch isle. Now they are out with Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2010, and what’s particularly special about this one is the fact it draws from farms all across the island.

Whereas previous releases of Islay Barley, such as the 2015 release of the 2009 vintage, have come from pockets around Islay, the Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2010 whisky is said to have been produced and distilled from the “consolidation of harvests from eight farms across the breadth of Islay.” The distillery, as it turns out, had been building up maturing stocks of this so-called “uber-provenance spirit.” In the process, more and more farmers got involved in producing barley for Bruichladdich, and their stock diversified.

The barley varieties used for this whisky included Optic and Oxbridge, and the resulting new make spirit was majority aged in first-fill Bourbon with some ex-Rivesaltes, JuranÇon and Banyuls French wine cask maturation as well. The final product, bottled at 50% ABV at the distillery with Islay spring water, is both non-chill filtered and of natural color.

“It’s like a sea breeze filled with a delicate floral bouquet and hints of brown sugar and toffee on the palate,” said Bruichladdich distiller Adam Hannett in a prepared statement. “An ozone-fresh finish with zesty lemon and that note of windswept salt. It is worth noting that nobody at this most progressive Hebridean distillery has ever claimed that barley from one location in Scotland is better than that grown in any other, merely that there are differences between them.”

Bruichladdich produced a rather detailed PDF booklet of Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2010, which we’ve embedded below for your consideration. Official tasting notes are included below as well.

Nose: The floral nature of Bruichladdich spirit is immediately to the fore, its purity and openness at once refreshing and stimulating. A sea breeze filled with a delicate floral bouquet drifts through before the beauty of young, clean Bruichladdich emerges with crisp sweet apple, ripe gooseberry and peach. The malted barley brings brown sugar and toffee, while aromas from the toasted oak are calm and restrained as a backdrop, allowing the malt and spirit to shine. Butterscotch, spice, and creamy vanilla custard give more clues to the tremendous quality of the casks we filled with this precious spirit.

Palate: The mouthfeel, the viscosity, is a delight. Trickle distillation is a slow and simple technique but fundamental to producing such quality. The texture is muscular and rich. The natural oils coaxed gently from the grain temper the spice to allow its character, its young, clean, fresh charm to flourish.

Finish: The finish is ozone fresh, with zesty lemon and that note of windswept salt that can only have come from maturation by our Atlantic shoreline.

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