A 2011 vintage Bere barley single malt from Bruichladdich, distilled from six-row barley – the oldest strain of cultivated cereal in Britain. It is smaller and more concentrated than modern varietals, with a far lower spirit yield. The grain was grown and harvested on Orkney in the summer of 2010 and the spirit was matured in first fill ex-bourbon casks.
Bruichladdich Bere Barley 2011 (50%, OB 2021)
Nose: an oily, old-style maltiness, mixed with green bananas and apple, as well as some heady hints of white flowers. Bright citrus notes (grapefruit, lime). Sourdough and chalky notes. Even a light medicinal / herbal touch. Quite naked and focused, it’s not necessarily about complexity but it’s a characteristic spirit nonetheless.
Mouth: truckloads of barley, with a creamy texture, slightly green fruitiness and hints of plain eau-de-vie. Pears and peach schnapps. Also a bitterness of grapefruit zest, marmalade and juniper. More of that sourdough and chalky minerals. Rather tense now, with hints of tonic water, maritime notes and wax.
Finish: long, with a lemon and salt combo, more minerals, nutmeg and leafy notes.
While some reviewers seem to adore the specific cereal nature and the narrow style, I think it’s slightly boozy and the oak is starting to come forward. Still available from the Bruichladdich website or retailers like TyndrumWhisky or Master of Malt.