Bruichladdich Islay Barley 7, 2011-2019, 50%

Before you start nagging, this whisky indeed states that it’s six years old. But, being distilled in 2011 and bottled in 2019, it can only be 6 years old if they kept it in plastic, steel or glass for a year. I strongly doubt they did that, much more so than making a typo from another copy-pasted label.

Apart from that, it’s one of these Islay Barley releases, where they started exploring whisky’s terroir. Of course, Mark Reynier pushed that to another limit with Waterford, but Bruichladdich is where it started.

They approached 18 farms on Islay to produce barley for their single malts, so each should differ in their details. Of course, Islay is already a rather limited terroir, so most differences probably come from the species of barley used and not one peaty bog to another.

Anyway, generally I know I like these. Apparently not a lot of people do, since the price still around the original € 60 (in The Netherlands).

Image from Whiskybase

Sniff:
It’s quite contrary since normally when whiskies are this briny, they’re also peated. In this case the whisky is rather tight and gives a lot of room to the brine. So, surf and sand, sea weed, and a light barley. Not a little barley, but a light one. It has a bit of the Bowmore lemony ammonium scent, which is not common at all.

Sip:
The palate is light, but rather sharp. It’s young which comes with a bit of austerity. Slate, lichen, some seaweed and a bit of grass. Quite coastal with a hint of brine and sand. Not a lot of oak, but later on there’s a whiff of vanilla.

Swallow:
The finish has a bit more warmth, but dials up the ‘local’ flavors from the palate. Rocks, lichen, moss, barley. Maybe a bit less coastal, but rather more based on the creeks running to the sea on Islay.

What I love about this whisky, but that goes for a lot of Islay drams, is that they make such a local dram. It shows its provenance, it shows the location of the distillery and the farms. Of course, on Islay everything is rather close to the sea and they’re not afraid of showing that off.

The briny scents on the nose, with the palate and finish going more inland step by step is quite nice. Good stuff, especially at the price!

86/100

Available at WhiskyBase for € 60

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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