There is more to barley, one of the most important ingredients of your dram, than you might think at first. Yesterday I wrote about the inauguration at the 2010 Islay Festival of a new Bruichladdich dram, the Islay Barley 2004, and mentioned that traceability is very important for the Bruichladdich Distillery. As a result of that post Mark Reynier sent me the complete overview of the 2009 barley harvest for Bruichladdich. Time for the full story, with thanks to Mark.
The Bruichladdich barley harvest of 2009 consists of 1789 tonnes of 100% traceable, Scottish farm-sourced barley - each origin harvested, malted, milled, mashed, fermented, distilled and casked separately. These 1789 tonnes of barley consist of eight varieties: Optic, which was once the main variety, Chalice which is Islay Grown and organic, Golden Promise â€“ a past favourite, Bere â€“ original Vikingsâ€™ barley, Appaloosa â€“ improvement on Optic, Oxbridge â€“ modern early ripening, Westminster â€“ good disease resistance and Publican which has a higher yielding than Optic. Continue reading.....There are currently 14 Islay farms that grow barley for Bruichladdich. They are: Sunderland Farm, Rockside Farm, Kynagarry Farm, Octomore Farm, Claggan Farm, Mulindry Farm, Islay Island Farm, Starchmill Farm, Island Farm, The Glebe, Ballinaby Farm, Aldrach Farm, Eorrabus Farm and Ellands Farm. The following farms in Ross-shire grow barley for Bruichladdich: Culblair Farm, Flemington Farm, Morayston Farm, Lonnie Farm and Castle Stuart Farm. There are four other Scottish farms in other areas of Scotland: Coulmore Farm â€“ Black Isle, Tullibardine Farm in Perthshire, Weyland Farm in Orkney and Neath Hall Farm in Dumfries.
The percentage of organic barley is rising and currently 32% of the barley is organically grown. As far as malting peat levels are concerned Bruichladdich uses the following levels: Bruichladdich â€“ +/- 3 ppm of phenols at malting. Port Charlotte, Heavily peated at 40 ppm. Lochindaal is extra heavily peated at 50ppm and Octomore is the worldâ€™s most heavily peated barley at 80 ppm +. Now you might also be interested in how the spirit is distilled. Bruichladdich distillery has three distillation techniques: Double distillation, the â€˜Trickleâ€™ method. Triple distillation or â€œTrestarigâ€ an ancient Islay method and Quadruple distillation, â€œPerilous Whiskyâ€.
The malting of the barley takes place in Inverness at Bairds Malt. This Inverness plant is also certified by the Organic Food Federation to produce Organic malt.
This overview shows that the barley is 100% traceable and that makes the Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay unique. Next time you enjoy a dram from the Bruichladdich distillery keep the above in mind, close your eyes and you can almost see the barley waving in the wind on one of Islay's or Scottish mainland farms. Now you know where to look to find the source!