Review: Bruichladdich Bere Barley Single Malt Scotch Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Bruichladdich Bere 1.jpg
9 years; Ex-bourbon
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Bruichladdich (Bruichladdich, Scotland)

This is made from Bere Barley - a strain of barley which has significantly less yield compared to most commercial varieties. Because yields are low, you get more barley flavor in a distillate. I always like it when distilleries experiment with grains like this, both from an agricultural and a consumer perspective. And, it seems, they are yielding good results.

Review (2019)

  • Batch: Barley grown on Dunlossit Estate on Islay, Vintage 2008 from grain grown in 2007

  • Bottling Code: L/161885 17/334 2018 0123 15:48

  • Bottling Date: 2018

Very vibrant on the nose. Pear, orange peel, clove, nutmeg (quite spicy), vanilla pudding, milk chocolate, and stewed apples. Nice graininess, and a bit piney. It really opens with water, or time. The palate has chocolate, clean oak, a light smoky/earthy character, and fantastic mouthfeel. It feels quite distillate driven. Finish has dried fruit, spices, vanilla, oak, and some more citrus.
It really opens up nicely with time – it becomes incredibly grainy and creamy, and it just comes together really well. If you have this, set it aside for 20-30 mins and then come back to it. It’s almost a completely different whisky….

I’m quite partial to the Islay Barley bottle from 2009 that I reviewed a few years ago. How does this compare? That one is much more earthy and bright, but not as grainy. This one is softer. I like the style of Islay Barley more, but this one has a bit more depth and develops more but doesn’t quite have the depth on the nose. I do like the centrality of grain here.

Highly Recommended (50% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average against the market for $110, in terms of what I’d expect/hope.