The Islay Festival release for 2014 is to be an extraordinary Octomore called 'Discovery'. Back in 2007, Jim McEwan, inspired by the great Scots traveler Martin Martin, quadruple distilled a spirit made from super heavily peated malt that was destined to become Octomore. The result is utterly unique. Matured for seven years in Oloroso sherry butts, nothing like it has ever been previously released.
Our new Valinch is a beautiful 21 year old that spent the majority of its life in an American bourbon barrel before being transferred to a French oak cask that had previously held one of the world’s finest eaux-de-vie.
This is a wonderful dram, an inspirational example of cask enhancement, or ACEing as we like to call it. It has been named for our Distillery Manager, the ever youthful Allan Logan, although even Allan no longer claims to be a mere 21 years old. There is talk of this being the first in a series of Valinch editions that will feature members of the Laddie Crew. We will have to see.
One of the problems of creating limited release single malts is that it will always be difficult to ensure that all Laddie fans have the opportunity to experience everything we produce, no matter where you live in the world. These are small batch artisanal whiskies and we simply do not have enough to go round.
Unfortunately, it will never be possible to please everybody, but lots of us travel, or know folk who travel, so we feel that releasing some of these whiskies as Global Travel Retail exclusives is an excellent way of reaching a lot of people. The nature of GTR should also mean that some of these expressions are available for longer periods of time.
Our Master Distiller and Production Director Jim McEwan explains why he decided to increase the abv of some of our whiskies to 50%:
"The decision to increase the strength of our barley exploration series single malts is the result of a six-year study analysing the flavours and aromatics of Islay barley at 46% and at 50% ABV.
"For the study I chose Islay barley because I know exactly which farms it comes from year on year; these local terroirs are identifiable - we know the farmers, the conditions, the lie of the land, so we can monitor the characteristics of the spirit with as much consistency as possible.
The Bruichladdich Cuvee Series is a core expression of our fundamental philosophy as distillers. Whisky convention dictates that a distillery's spirit should have an inflexible house style, and that quality is a factor of age. A 15-year-old is better than a 10-year-old... You don't have to be Einstein to work out what comes next.
We reject this mean one-dimensional view.
Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay have once again pushed at the boundaries of what it possible with a single malt whisky in their latest release, which has been distilled from an ancient grain that probably first arrived in Scotland with the Vikings, over a thousand years ago. Bere barley (pronounced "bear") is one of the oldest cultivated cereals, originating in the fertile crescent of the Middle East. The fearsome Norsemen, who plundered ideas (and much else besides...) wherever they went, are known to have extended their reach south to the rivers Tigris and Euphrates and it is likely that they would have brought bere back with them to supply their further expeditions to Scotland as they first raided our coastline, then came to settle.
No one knows what the original Bruichladdich of 1881 actually tasted like.
There are neither bottles in existence nor tasting notes. What would it have tasted like?
The Port Charlotte Peat Project sets out to answer this conundrum.
The latest edition of Bruichladdich's Islay Barley Series, this one from Dunlossit Farm, is released to retail today, with availability online in our whisky shop from 14th July.
The Islay Barley Series is the ultimate expression of Islay, a single malt whose provenance and traceability is as unparalleled as the origin is unique.
Big Daddy, our 4.5 litre Laddie Classic is now available exclusively from our distillery shop. For those of you who can't make the trip over to this beautiful island, we are giving you the chance to win the very first bottle of this monster dram, signed by our very own master distiller, Jim McEwan.
Visit us on Facebook for more information...
These are the DIY bottlings available exclusively to visitors to the distillery.
A valinch, possibly from a Spanish term, is the name applied to a large, copper pipette used to take cask samples from whisky barrels.
Our view is if you have made the effort to get here to Islay then you deserve something just a little extra special.
Valinchs are by definition only ever at cask strength, from a single barrel, and selected by Jim for individuality. Each Valinch released has it’s own label and title, usually to commemorate a specific event.