Tonight I'll review an expression from one of my favourite and most versatile distillery on Islay: Bruichladdich Islay Barley  2007 Rockside Farm.  The Islay Barley was initially a separate expression as a part of their Uber Provenance Series. Today every core expression (Bruichladdich, Port Charlotte and Octomore) has an Islay Barley expression. The Bruichladdich expression kept its distinctive yellow tube, the Port Charlotte and Octomore stand out from the others with a fashionable white tube.


Bruichladdich takes a certain pride in bottling young malts and giving you the background on it. Instead of burying it in fancy names and ditto marketing stories, they provide you with background on the barley, the farm, the location of the field, the year they harvested the barley. It's their way of adding a sense of terroir to their whisky.

The third Islay Barley release contains malted barley that was harvested in 2006 and distilled in 2007. The barley comes from the Minister's field on Rockside Farm, a name that rings a bell with Kilchoman fans. Kilchoman purchased  the distillery from Mark and Rohaise French. I've reviewed the 2006 expression some time ago and still have some of it. Time to put it side by side with this 2007 edition.

Identity Card

  • Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2007
  • Bruichladdich Distillery, Loch Indaal(Islay)
  • 2007 Vintage, bottled in 2015
  • Alcohol: 50% ABV
  • Natural colour and un-chillfiltered

Bruichladdich Islay Barley
Picture: The Whisky Exchange


Tasting notes Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2007 Rockside Farm

Colour: Grainy golden liquid, leaves thin and fast legs on the glass. A young spirit with a high ABV.

Nose: A spicy crème pattisière or vanilla custard.  Creamy and lots of vanilla. Malty, earthy and dusty aromas. Sugared popcorn and sweet maize. Cake with whipped cream, gingerbread with ginger and honey.

A few drops of water makes the dram a bit sweeter, marzipan and grain biscuits.

Taste: A grain mixture sprinkled with sugar and creamy citrus tart with bits of melon. Some woody accents and green, slightly bitter twigs. Young and juicy. Wine gums and Szechuan peppercorn flavours, speculoos spices and a touch of mint.

Water unleashes citrus rind, bitter and peppery flavours. More wood but in a different way: pencil shavings and charcoal. And a tasting note I've never used before: jacked potato with coarse sea salt.

Finish: After eight biscuits; chocolate and mint.

Conclusion

The Islay barley expression is different from the Classic Laddie. It's almost like a minimalist version of it. Definitely related but still... different.

Islay Barley 2007 Rockside Farm is a dram that grows (pun intended) on you. The more you try it, the more you'll like it. I had this feeling already with the 2006 edition and this one conveys the exact same feeling. Don't reflect too much on it by trying to scribble down tasting notes. Enjoy the ride!

Disclosure: The sample was sent to me by Oona  and Bruichladdich as a part  of a Twitter tasting of the Bruichladdich range in June.  Opinions stated are  my own.

Official Bruichladdich tasting notes Islay Barley 2007 Rockside Farm







Images: Bruichladdich (bottle)