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New whiskies from Bruichladdich and Port Charlotte

Islay's Bruichladdich distillery has announced the release of not one, but two new whiskies celebrating the agricultural heritage of its island home.

First up is the Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2013 vintage, the fourth edition of heavily peated, completely Islay-grown whisky released by the brand, which features Concerto barley raised by seven farmers in 2012.

Following its reopening in 2001, the team at Bruichladdich distillery spearheaded a movement to get more farmers growing barley on the isle of Islay. Now, between 40 and 50 per cent of the distillery's annual requirements are filled by farmers within 10 miles (as the crow flies) of its facility.

Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2013 has been bottled without chill filtration or colouring at 50% ABV. It will replace the Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2012 vintage alongside core expression Port Charlotte 10 and the limited-cask exploration release (currently Port Charlotte PAC:01 2011).

Commenting on the new vintage, Bruichladdich head distiller Adam Hannett said: "There is something magical about how the Islay-grown barley holds the smoke back for a moment until releasing it dramatically on the finish."

Meanwhile, Bruichladdich is celebrating a long-forgotten grain variety in its new Bruichladdich Bere Barley 2011 expression.

Once a popular grain sown and eaten across Scotland and its islands, Bere barley never found favour with distillers due to its low yield and was subsequently left off recommended growing lists for farmers.

However, Bruichladdich, in collaboration with Orkney College and Orkney-based agricultural business Barony Mill, has sought to put the historic landrace pride of place in a whisky.

A successful crop of Bere barley was harvested in 2010 and distilled by Bruichladdich in 2011, and has been released this month as a 10-year-old whisky. It will replace the 2010 edition currently in the distillery's unpeated Barley Exploration series.

Of the Bruichladdich Bere Barley 2011, Hannett said: "Wherever our barley projects take us in future, we're thrilled to have a back catalogue of flavourful and esoteric spirits in our warehouses. There is something unique about Bere barley spirit and this 2011 vintage is no exception."

9 August 2021 - Bethany Whymark