This year I want to see what the influence, if any, of locally grown barley is on the flavour profile of a whisky. To do so I need your help! So I would really really appreciate is if you comment to this blog or send me a massage on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

What I am looking for is actually a tad more complicated than you might think. Let me explain.

In order for the effects of locally grown barley to appear in the flavour profile of a whisky you need to compare it to another that was made using “Bulk Barley”. With “Bulk Barley” I mean Barley that was malting from sources all over the place and then combined at the maltster into one batch.

Then, when you have a “Bulk Barley” and a “Local Barley” the rest of the production process needs to be as constant as possible to eliminate flavour profile variations due to process variations. Meaning:

  • The same Maltster, incl. all process steps.
    • Same steeping process
    • Same germination process
    • Same kilning process, incl. heat source and peating
  • The same Distillery that uses the:
    • Same Milling process and equipment, same husks, grist etc,
    • Same Mashing process and equipment, incl. water source and temperature / time / mixing settings,
    • Same Fermentation process and equipment, incl. yeasts etc,
    • Same Distilling process and equipment, incl. the same cuts,
    • Same Cask Type, incl. the same origins of the cask and previous content.
    • Same Maturation period
    • Same Maturation location, incl.
      • casking filling date,
      • warehouse location,
      • location in the warehouse.
    • Same ABV at bottling, using the same water source and filtration.

As you can see the list of everything that needs to be “The Same” in order to show the difference in Flavour profile due to the origin of the barley is definitely not short. Since it is almost unrealistic to expect all influences to be constant one can worry about the prove-ability of “Terroir” influences. Without quantification of influences in the steps that Maltster’s and Distillers are not able to keep constant, how would one prove “Terroir”.

Did a smallish video about it!

Question to you guys and girls in the Whisky Fabric

I am stubborn, I am going to try anyways. So here is what I need from you guys. Are there any whiskies out there that come close to meeting the criteria that I have just listed?

Personally I can think of a short list that come close to meeting the requirements.

  • Bruichladdich Scottish vs Islay Barley
  • Port Charlotte Scottish vs Islay Barley
  • Octomore Scottish vs Islay Barley
  • Future WATERFORD drams, which are not released yet
  • Springbank vs Springbank “Local Barley”.

If you know any more examples of drams that are made from locally sourced barley that have a sister whisky that used “Bulk Barley” please let me know! I will add your input to the list above, with a thank you note!