Bruichladdich ‘Bere Barley’ 2009

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Bruichladdich was founded in 1881 by brothers William, John and Robert Harvey, owners of a pair of distilleries in Glasgow. Seeking to increase their portfolio, the brothers used inheritance money to build their third distillery on the Isle of Islay, off the west coast of Scotland.


On the shores of Loch Indaal, the brothers constructed their distillery from stone recovered from the beach, working to a state of the art design which culminated in tall, slender pot stills that would produce a spirit quite unlike anything else on the island.

Today, some 137 years later, Bruichladdich is part of Remy Cointreau with the distillery holding a proud reputation for both quality and experimentation. At the root of the Bruichladdich vision is the belief that barley, as the essential ingredient for single malt whisky, is crucial to the character of the finished spirit. The distillers have tested barley grown in different locations, both on islay and the mainland and showcase their characters in ‘Scottish Barley’ and ‘Islay Barley’ bottlings of their Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte brands.

Taking this concept further, Bruichladdich have even produced batches of single malt using different strains of barley, including Bere – the oldest cereal in Britain. Bere is a fast growing crop, brought to Scotland by the Vikings in the 8th century AD. Sown in Spring and harvested in Summer, it is the perfect crop for the north of Scotland with it’s long hours of summer sunlight and long, cold winters. Today, higher yielding barley alternatives have all but extinguished Bere from the agricultural landscape, though it is still grown in small quantities in Orkney, Shetland and Caithness.

The 2009 edition is produced from an Orkney harvest of 2008, distilled in 2009 and then bottled at 50% abv.

Smell: Barley, Stale Bread, Grass and Soil, Biscuit, Straw, Lemon and Fudge.

Taste: Spice and Biscuit notes, with Caramel and Vanilla, Oak and Creamy Fudge.

Value for Money: Comes in around £70 a bottle, which certainly isn’t cheap but it is an unusual dram that will intrigue until the last drop.

Scores: 44 / 50. About the Scores…

A fine example of Bruichladdich’s commitment to Barley and it’s impact on the final character of a malt whisky. Indeed it is the barley notes that really shine through here and make this yet another excellent offering from Bruichladdich distillery.

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