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Bruichladdich Bere Barley 2008 / Islay Barley

"Barley Exploration Part I"

3 686

@cricklewoodReview by @cricklewood

23rd Jul 2019


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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In the summer/fall of 2018, Bruichladdich issued new editions of it's "provenance" driven whiskys, the 2010 edition of it's Islay Barley variant, the 2009 Organic barley and the 2008 Bere Barley. Right around the holidays they smartly assembled a new "Wee Laddies" kit of 3 x 20cl bottles, one of each expression. I was able to pick up a set at a very fair price during that time, I figured it was a good way to taste multiple expressions. I would also be able to use those handy 20cl bottles when empty to decant bottles in the danger zone, win-win.

Bere Barley is a varietal that was prized for it's performance in low ph soils and it's short growing season, making it ideal for a place like Scotland and specifically Orkney, where the crop for this whisky came from. It also has a high protein and nitrogen content making it difficult to deal with and reducing it's yield, yet it was prized for it's flavor and continues to be used by many in the brewing industry for that very reason. Only a few distilleries have experimented with a purely Bere barley whisky, of the ones I know there was Arran, Bruichladdich and Glan Ar Mor.

Distilled in 2008 from the 2007 harvest, unpeated Bere barley, 9 yrs old and vatted from first-fill an re-fill ex-bourbon casks.

Nose: Sharp, citrus peel, pumpernickel, caraway. it's very fresh on the nose. Then some latex, powdered sugar & marzipan. It reminds me of pot-still Irish whisky in some ways, there is a slight banana note as well.

Palate: Tropical fruits, lots of grain, lemon, astringency and a firm sharpness. It develops into a tangy creamy feeling a bit like those campino candies with a bit of spice on the tail end.

Finish: There is a bit of rye bread and water crackers at first and then a lemony, salty feeling, paraffin and a touch of arugula.

Blab: There's something irresistible about this whisky. The palate is weird, very different than a lot of what I've had. It's hard to describe. It's coastal, oily and has almost a lowland vibe to it but then there's that fresh side also that lifts it up. An interesting whisky it eventually became my favourite of the set.

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Nozinan commented

Nice review. Makes me want to take a closer look at Bruichladdich. It was one of the first distilleries I tasted from in 2011, and while not overly impressed at the time I later began to really appreciate the Laddie Classic and the Peat. More recently I've enjoyed an organic release (thanks for sharing @nosebleed), Black Arts (thanks @Fiddich1980) and the original 10 (thanks me). Not to mention Octomore...

I think if I see some 200 cc bottles I will have to plunge in (I have a 200cc Black Arts from my last December Calgary trip).

about one year ago 2Who liked this?

cricklewood commented

@Nozinan thanks. I have a bit of a soft spot for this distillery as it was one that was formative in my single malt education. I know some folks can't get into them and hate the fact that they still have a bunch of different expressions. Although I feel like Springbank does too and yet no one has a problem with that.

I believe the range you've tried lately is a good indication of what the distillery is capable of producing. Not everything is mind blowing but it's well constructed and they've got good blending practices.

The barley exploration kit is available at the same place you picked up your ben10/100. It's about 78$ but when there was a sale I was able to snag it for about 62$, well worth it.

about one year ago 2Who liked this?

MadSingleMalt commented

This sounds so good!

I'm sitting on a couple unopened Laddie Islay Barleys, but I just checked them and - alas - this version is not among them. :(

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

cricklewood commented

@MadSingleMalt it is quite delicious, although I'm sure the Islay Barley releases you have are too. 2006 & 2007 are some of my favourites, dont know of you've got those

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

MadSingleMalt commented

@cricklewood, my two in the stash are the 2007 Rockside and 2009 Claggan Etc. ones. You vouch for those? :)

about one year ago 0

cricklewood commented

@MadSingleMalt 2007 Rockside is good I haven't tried the 2009. Either way i'm sure it will be an interesting experience.

about one year ago 1Who liked this?

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