Islay distillers: A singular vision

23rd December, 2016 by db_staff

Distillers on Islay are harnessing the concept of terroir to make exciting single-malt whiskies using locally grown barley and traditional methods. Fiona Rintoul looks at the trend.

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One Response to “Islay distillers: A singular vision”

  1. Christy M says:

    Excellent article outlining some of the pertinent differences between Islay distilleries. Just a couple of points on Bruichladdich, the distillery uses a maltster in Inverness called Bairds. Their ability to malt small batches of barley and trace the origins carefully were just some of the reasons Bruichladdich chose to work with them and not the Diageo owned maltings.

    The tonnage of Islay grown barley is at around 1200-1300 tonnes this year. However, this is around 25-30% of the quantity needed to produce at the distillery and is not the overall tonnage used annually.

    Additionally, I’ve never heard of any distilled getting yields of between 450-500 bulk litres of alcohol per tonne. The figures for Scottish barley are much more likely to sit around 400-420 for mainland barley and much much lower for Islay grown barley. The challenges to growth on the island include damage from geese and deer as well as a high nitrogen content, not just the rain and lack of sunshine.

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