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Bruichladdich Bere Barley 2006

Average score from 4 reviews and 4 ratings 83

Bruichladdich Bere Barley 2006

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Bruichladdich Bere Barley 2006

Apologies, this is the 2010 version. Thanks, again, to @wierdo for the sample. A mix of the Bere strain of barley, from various farms in Scotland, which is apparently so hardy it can grow on Orkney. It yields about 50% of what a modern grain does and is another applaudable attempt from the Progressive Hebridean Distillery to create unusual and experimental malts for us to try. Not sure about the casks, sorry, but I'd guess mainly ex-bourbon.

Not often I will crack open a sample and review it straight away but, what the heck, why not?!

Nose - Barley sugars, gristy, light ale notes and very fruity - apricot, yellow pears - and a touch of eucalyptus. Nice balance of sweet and sour but leaning to the sour. A little hint of clove in there too.

Taste - Woah, water needed! Very condensed neat. Decent mouth-feel, oily and mouth coating. Quite a dry and sour arrival with heavy, course even, grain notes. More sour barley sugars. It fizzes on the tongue as it develops going quite peppery and more bitter. More pear and apricot but they take a back seat compared to the nose.

Finish - med - long. Drying with white pepper, sharp but clean tannins and more menthol and barley sugar sweets at the death. My tongue feels like it's been kicked!

A big, meaty and juicy malt that perhaps veers too much towards the sour and bitter side for my own tastes. That said, it certainly showcases the barley here and the purists will no doubt adore this. High quality whisky for sure. Feels very 'rye-like'.

@BlueNote @cricklewood - Just finishing the sample now and I think the air has tamed it a little, especially on the palate. Not one I'd buy but I do enjoy the 'nakedness ' of this, as it were. Maybe 86 was a tad high but one cannot fault the uniqueness and overall quality - so a point or two for that stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye Those gristy notes could easily become too much though, very much how the spiciness of rye can.

I think to be more accessible some sherry cask influence might help the sweet to sour balance but then I guess you run the risk of losing the clear barley notes - which is the point here, right?

Your Rye comparison is a good shout actually. It never occurred to me but it does have a sourness that is quite rye-like.


When you have that many expressions as Bruichladdich you really have to sweat your marketing department for new ideas. Sometimes they do a good job. Sometimes they don't. This is one of those don'ts.

I picked this expression up after reading some decent reviews about it and how scarce it was on the ground. Bere Barley, the oldest barley ever to be grown and from which original whisky was first made, yields less than 50% of normal barley crop and it apparently destroys all the machinery. Yet, someone decided it would be a good idea to use this barley to produce this unpeated dram.

Bad idea.

The nose is a bit weird. Cut green chillies tossed in an edamame salad and drizzled with lemon linseed oil and condensed milk. Now I don't mind linseed oil since it's a common friend amongst Islay whiskies but this particular one is frankly too stale for my liking. As if left in a cupboard for ages and then discovered by surprise.

That same stale linseed oil is back on the palate and ruins everything that followed afterwards like the honey, lemon and chocolate. It's not nice at all.

The finish is a touch peppery with some lemon drops.

That yucky oily business spoilt everything for me.


Gift sample from a friend

Nose: Light smoke and malty. Waxy and a little crystallized dried fruit. Almost reminds me of a classic Clynelish. Vanilla and slightly creamy lemon. It smells a little sweet, with very light petrol and a nervous, sour flowery note. Pleasant, if not a bit simple and straightforward.

Palate: Sweet cereal, vanilla, smoke, and more of that sour note - but not too much. A bit lemony and light, less Clynelishy now, and more tarry.

Finish: Ah, I wasn't sure how this would turn out, and it's a bit of a let down. The immediate transition is bitter and heavy on the wood. Eventually it calms down to tar/tire, lemon, wax, and more malty sweetness. This makes for a decent summer dram, and would be a pleasant drinker. Not without flaws, nor deep, but easy enough.

I liked it as a whole and found it rather enjoyable, but it missed a bit due to the simplicity and the quiet palate, along with the awkward transition.


Very light pale straw colour. Intense aniseed hit on the nose and on the approach, mellowing to liquorice with a little water. The fizzy Love Hearts tang from the bere barley is present, but you have to know what you're looking for and go hunting for it; otherwise, it's overpowered by the smoky peatiness you get from any Islay whisky.

Very interested to try this..... mostly curiosity really...

Of the two bere malts I've tried, the Arran is by far the more interesting. It's more expensive than the Laddie but I've bought a second bottle of it.

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