The silage crop is absolutely vital at Octomore Farm. This is the winter feed fundamental that will take the herd of beef cattle through the long winter months, supplemented by draff which is a bi-product of whisky making at Bruichladdich distillery .
We have a passionate belief in barley – the raw material from which all single malt is made.
For many whisky producers barley is merely a commodity product, to be bought from wherever happens to be supplying the cheapest tonnage at the time – be that England, Poland or Lithuania.
For Bruichladdich it is a living, fundamental expression of the land, of the terroir in which it’s grown. Simply put, barley grown free from artificial stimulants and dependancy on pharmaceuticals, better reflects the microclimate from which it takes its nourishment.
Whisky distilled from organically grown barley just seems to have more definition, purity and intensity. It accentuates the barley taste.
This is how farming and whisky production used to be a century ago, before two world wars created the need for super-efficient farming and utterly maximised yields – achieved through the chemical treatment of land and crop: volume at the expense of flavour.
Certainly, organic grapes do not automatically make superior wine; the winemaker must play his part too. And it is the same for whisky.
We lay down casks of Bruichladdich distilled from organic barley - grown not just on individual farms, but individual fields. A fascinating exploration of the influence of terroir on finished spirit.
It’s hardly industrial distilling, but we believe it’s important – land and dram reunited.
Bruichladdich distilled the world’s first ever whisky from biodynamic barley last year. Such is the extraordinary quality of the spirit that we are doing a second distillation - and it is double the size of the first one.
Bruichladdich use barley from up to 28 farms. Harvested in the autumn it is distilled from January throughout the following year. The 2012 distillation programme, which kicked off with Bere barley (pronounced "bear"), saw Bruichladdich use barley from 26 farms harvested in the autumn of 2011.
We seek to maintain the 50-50 split between green and island-grown barley. For the 2011 harvest 860 tonnes, 53% of our barley, was 'green'; cultivated both organically and bio-dynamically (über-organic). 47% came from the islands of Islay (despite the bad growing season) and Orkney (4% from the latter, the Viking Bere barley). There were an unprecedented 12 varieties grown, including three old favourites Bere, Maris Porter and Golden Promise.
Bruichladdich Distillery are proud winners of The Energy Institute Environment Award, 2011 for "Whisky waste to distillery power".