In the mid nineteenth century, 4000 acres of malting barley were grown on the island of Islay, but due to The Great War and its Islay casualties, the yield collapsed to zero. The programme by Bruichladdich to re-establish the cereal on the island now means 800-1000 tons, a quarter of the Victorian era yield, is now harvested for Bruichladdich. The latest result of this push for local grown barley is another expression of Bruichladdich's Islay Barley Series, this time from Dunlossit Farm, which is released today.
Bruichladdich's Islay Barley Series showcases the first single malt whiskies in a century to be exclusively Islay-made - from barley to barrel to bottle. In these days of increasing production efficiency and global market raw material sourcing, the real sense of place, the terroir from which Scotch whisky originated, has been lost. Bruichladich have set out to rectify this with a single malt that was made from barley reassuringly sown and grown on the Islay. The unpeated barley was distilled in to Bruichladdich whisky, warehoused and matured, and finally bottled still on the Hebridean island at Bruichladdich Distillery.
The terroir for this whisky is a desolate place known as the 'headland of the the gallows'. This lonely field is a rare patch of fertility amongst the barren, rocky outcrops and peat bogs tilled continually since Neolithic times. Evidence of Islay's earliest farmers, dated to 6,000 years ago, was discovered in this soil only last year. In this remote, unsullied earth, Chalice barley was grown by farmer Jim Logan in what is now called the Jubilee field on Dunlossit land owned by Bruno Schroder, a Bruichladdich shareholder. It was harvested in September 2006 and distilled eight weeks later. Non chill-filltered, and colouring-free, Bruichladdich's Islay Barley Series "Dunlossit" was bottled at 50% ABV and retails at around Â£38.