Diversity starts in the field. Provenance is key. We believe the interaction of man, land, soil and climate – known as terroir in wine circles – is paramount. We value our farmer relationships, reconnecting that lost cycle between farmer and distiller - land and spirit.
We use only Scottish-grown barley
(it is called “Scotch” after all) currently grown on 28 farms, over twelve varieties; we are also committed to protecting heritage varieties, in conjunction with the University of the Highlands and Islands, such as the oldest variety known to man – 7,000-year-old Bere barley
– familiar to the Vikings and their distant forefathers.
Depending on harvest around 1,000 tonnes of barley (about 50%) are grown on Islay itself. From barley to barrel to bottle each origin is kept separate for ultimate traceability. Almost 1,000 tonnes (50%) are organically grown, a percentage of raw material that will rise as more farmers invest in organic certification. Since 2010, 5% is biodynamic
, uber-organic cultivation.
This is not the espousal of some trendy cause, this is the way all whisky used to be – local produce bought from farmers you knew, grown on fields you could see from the distillery window. We think of it as a “radical old idea”.
And the proof of the "pudding"? In 2011 the International Taste and Quality Institute’s august and elite panel of Michelin and Gault Millau-rated tasters, awarded our Organic whisky
three stars (out of three) and “Exceptional” status – the only whisky in the world to be thus recognised; and this is our multi-vintage organic – a vatting of a number of fairly young vintages. Just think what this spirit will be showing at 10 years’ old, 20 years’ old.
For us, this recognition justifies our passionately-held belief that soil, the “terroir”, a respect for centuries-old farming practices and the reconnection of the spirit with man and his land make a difference in the glass.
Once again, land and dram united.