Bere barley, acknowledged as Britain's oldest cultivated cereal strain, would have been utilized by Scotland's early distillers over many centuries. Nevertheless, in the 20th century, there was a shift towards prioritizing yield and commercial viability, leading to the selection of varieties that offered easier cultivation and higher extract, favoring efficiency over flavor.
In their commitment to championing flavor, the distillery has been working closely with the University of the Highlands and Islands' Agronomy Institute since 2005 to reintroduce Bere barley into the production of single malt whisky. However, the importance of this barley extends beyond whisky production, as it holds significant potential for the future of food production.
Sown in April and harvested in September, the 2011 growing season primarily witnessed warm and dry conditions, except during the crucial harvest period when rainfall became more frequent. Maturing patiently for over a decade in first-fill ex-bourbon casks, the understated maturation of the 2012 vintage carefully balances an indulgent texture with the presence of malty, sweet fruit notes.
Tasting Note by Bruichladdich:
Nose: Complex and alluring, there is a wonderful combination of fruity and floral notes on the nose. Oak comes through with zesty lime and green apple, followed by fragrant honeysuckle and creamy vanilla. The Bere barley provides a tart robustness with hints of hay and barley sugar sweetness, with a peach note growing as the dram opens further.
Palate: Firm and well rounded, Bere barley and stoned fruit glide across the palate bringing waves of apricot, ripe peach and stewed apple. Chocolate lime hints at the zesty richness of the spirit before barley sugar and warm scones bring a remarkable depth of flavour from the malt. Marine notes of sun kissed sand and sea shells follow, moving to marzipan, mellow oak and coconut.
Finish: Long and delicate, the finish has notes of gingerbread, milk chocolate, marzipan, creamy vanilla and apricot jam. A subtle marine note lingers along with a hint of barley sugar.