Mark French took a calculated risk back in March this year, when a prolonged spell of dry weather provided a window of opportunity to sow his crop of malting barley for Bruichladdich early. He decided that the potential benefits from an early sowing outweighed the risks of heavy damage from migratory Barnacle geese, or a late frost nipping the germinating grain. The crop did get a good early start, and was coming on, albeit slowly, throughout the late, cold, wet spring. He is now seeing his early gamble paying off in spectacular fashion because his harvest in almost complete in August, which is great news.
As the grain comes in, Mark can see that his yields are very high with an average of three tonnes of top quality barley being taken off each acre at a moisture level of 18%. This is a fantastic result, and payback time for some lean years when difficult harvests dragged on into September with the geese and deer and weather reducing the tonnage with every passing day.
It was all going too well to last of course, and unfortunately a combine mechanical breakdown prevented Mark harvesting the Minister’s Field and finishing the job. The problem is a sheared bearing in the sieving mechanism, but Mark soon had the offending part off and a new one ordered. He hopes it will be flown in on the plane today, so the delay will only be short.
The 2006 harvest from Ministers Field at Rockside provided the barley for a 2007 distillation at Bruichladdich which is now our latest release in the Islay Barley series. Provenance matters…