Bruichladdich Distillery has launched the latest chapter in its Barley Exploration series: Islay Barley 2014, Organic Barley 2012, and Bere Barley 2013.
Barley Explorations is a range of unpeated single malt vintages, released annually, which seek to put the spotlight back on malt whisky's core raw ingredient. It plays into the distillery's emphasis on the concept of terroir in whisky – the way a spirit is influenced by its natural environment and raw materials.
“Barley is the main ingredient of single malt Scotch whisky, yet there is no law that states that it must be grown and harvested in Scotland,” says Adam Hannett, head distiller at Bruichladdich Distillery. “As a consequence, barley is widely treated as a commodity – often imported from outside the country and bought at the lowest price for the greatest yield.
“At Bruichladdich, we trace our barley from farm to glass – seeking flavour, not yield. We are acutely aware of our part in the wider agricultural industry and our responsibility to not only support the farmers who grow our vital raw ingredient, but also promote soil health and nurture the land.
“Our Barley Exploration series looks at the impact different barley varietals and growing methods have on the final flavour of our spirit. Beyond the pursuit of flavour alone, the latest vintages celebrate our commitment to our farming partners, as well as our values around total traceability, provenance, and the purest expression of terroir.”
The Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2014 is distilled using barley grown solely on Islay, sourced from eight farms within an 11-mile radius of the distillery. It has been matured in a combination of first-fill bourbon barrels, sherry butts, and second-fill wine casks.
Bruichladdich Organic Barley 2012 is made with 100 per cent Scottish barley, grown and harvested at Mid Coul farm in Inverness.
Bruichladdich Bere Barley 2013 is the distillery's latest expression to use this ancient barley variety, which the distillery has been working to reintroduce to the island – in partnership with the University of the Highlands and Islands' Agronomy Institute – since 2005. The Bere Barley 2013 expression was matured in a combination of first-fill bourbon barrels and second-fill Pauillac wine casks.
The new Barley Exploration whiskies are presented in Bruichladdich's refreshed and more sustainable pack design, which includes a lighter-weight bottle and has seen the removal of unnecessary secondary packaging.
The Barley Exploration series is available to buy at bruichladdich.com and at specialist whisky retailers. Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2014 is priced at £70, Organic Barley 2012 is priced at £85, and Bere Barley 2013 is priced at £100.