We firmly believe that the highest quality barley produces the highest quality whisky.
But the barley used to create single malt whisky cannot be just any type of barley. Whilst there are over 5,000 strains of barley – only around 10 of these are regularly used for the production of whisky.
Most of these strains are what is known as two-row spring barley – a shorter growing, hardier varietal that is planted in the spring and then harvested late-summer. Two-row spring barley is ideal for the brewing and distilling industries as it is able to thrive in a wide variety of growing conditions and also crucially, produces both exceptional flavours as well as exceptional yields.
Two-row spring barley strains nevertheless offer considerable diversity in terms of their selection for whisky production. Optic matures slower and therefore is harvested later in the season. Belgravia has a notably high hot water extraction. Concerto – long the leading variety for the whisky industry – possesses excellent disease resistance and for several decades was producing consistently outstanding yields.
The barley we’ve initially selected for Dunphail this year is a two-row spring barley strain called Laureate.
In order to source this year’s production barley we’ve worked closely with grain trader Robin Apel – our partner via Bimber Distillery since 2016 and an investor in Dunphail Distillery. Together we ensured that the Laureate we have obtained is not only ideal for whisky production – but that it is ideal for our whisky production. I.E. for being prepared by us, by hand within Dunphail’s floor malting facility and kiln.
The 2022 harvest of Laureate that we’ll be using for Dunphail’s first three months of production was exceptional – the result of a particularly dry and warm growing season last year. Going forward into 2023 we have been talking to farmers local to Dunphail and assessing the profiles of a wide number of barley varieties.
We’re looking forward to seeing how the properties of these exceptional ingredients translates into the character of our spirit runs and eventual single malt whiskies.