As I mentioned in my post on Springbank’s last Local Barley release, one of the other distilleries that is very prolific in the whole barley experimentation thing is Bruichladdich. Every one of their core expressions has an “Islay Barley” counterpart made using barley grown on local Islay farms.
The Islay Barley bottlings are less about the influence of any specific barley type, but about Terroir, to see if like wine, the location where the barley is grown has an impact (don’t worry they have several whiskies using different varieties of barley too) .
This is just a small 200ml bottle of their regular, unpeated Bruichladdich bottling I got a hold of. Unfortunately it lacks all of the lovely details one usually finds on a Bruichladdich bottle, but there is a bottling code stating that it was bottled in 2015. The Bruichladdich Islay Barley bottled in 2015 was distilled in 2009 and made using barley from the Claggan, Cruach Island & Mulindry Farms. I’m not 100% sure that this is from that same series though.
Aged 3 years*. 50% ABV. No colourant added.and non-chill filtered.
*for lack of age statement, though if my assumption about this being the 2009 vintage is correct it’s 5-6 years old.
Nose: Very rich malty character. Cream of wheat. Mead. Salt. Green fruits, apples, pears. Green bananas. Lemon.
Palate: Green banana. New leather. Salt. Vanilla cream. Malted milk.
Finish: Long. Slightly bitter. Sharp green notes. Celery salt. Tingling ginger.
Would I buy this: No
Would I order this in a bar: Yes
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes
This whisky does show its youth with lots of malty, creamy and green fruit notes. That said it’s not in any way unpleasant or aggressive and can be a really lovely light Summer dram. Without comparison to the regular Laddie or others of the series it’s hard to tell the influence of the barley variation here, but from what I know from memory of the regular Bruichladdich flavour profile this does taste a little “greener” and has less of the usual lactic notes.