A Quick Primer on Islay Barley

We wrote earlier about the rainy weather in Scotland this fall and its impact on the barley harvest. The Islay Weblog has an update, with photos, that’s relevant for the handful of distilleries that use the Islay winter cropKilchoman and Bruichladdich.

Kilchoman is a rarity as a new distillery, having launched in 2005. It is aiming to make a name as a 100-percent Islay product, right down to its barley. Most other Islay distilleries use all or mostly Scottish barley, but not usually a significant portion of the Islay variety.

Mark Reynier from Bruichladdich weighed in on the topic in an update to the original blog post, probably too much information for most, but I include some of it here. For example, they use eight barley varieties:

Optic – the main variety used, Chalice – for Islay Grown and organic production, Golden Promise – a past favourite, Bere – the original ‘barley’ introduced by the Vikings, Troon – modern variety, early ripening, short straw, Oxbridge – modern variety, stiff straw, early ripening, Riviera – medium tall, medium early and Flagon – an early ripening, winter barley variety.

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~ by whisky1 on September 14, 2008.

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