The First of the New
Friday, 30 September 2011 POSTED BY Michael Thomson IN News
The very firstproduced from Islay grown barley in almost a century - distilled, matured and bottled on the island - is here.
In the spring of 2004 Chalice barley was sown less than 1 mile from the distillery on the ideally exposed, south-east facing slopes of Kentraw Farm, overlooking Loch Indaal.
The pebble-rich soil, consisting of raised marine deposits, had not been cultivated for at least a decade so was naturally fertile. Harvested in September 2004, the whisky was distilled three months later.
Richard Macaire, laird of Foreland and Kentraw, was the first to respond to our Islay grown challenge, sadly he died in April 2010. We remembered him as a shareholder, partner and friend with a limited edition, cask-strength Valinch bottling of his spirit in May 2010.
Now 18 months older and at 50%, we have the first generally available bottling from the same. While still youthful this spirit shows a remarkable maturity, an extraordinary definition of character with awesomely intense purity.
The first of the new Islay Barley Series heralds the future direction of Bruichladdich. In 2011 we have 16 farms growing Islay barley, depending on harvest, almost 50% of our needs. Most of the farms' barley (though some fields are just too small for this) are harvested, malted and distilled separately.
This unparalleled diversity of provenance, traceability and authenticity is what we at Bruichladdich have been working on over this last decade.
Future bottlings in the Islay Barley Series may be from other single Islay terroir spirits, or indeed clever assemblies of two, three or more component Islay-origin spirits for ultimate complexity. What a difficult choice we have.
And this is only the beginning.