Bruichladdich just made some pretty big waves in the Scotch whisky space. The distillery launched The Regeneration Project, which is Islay’s first rye whisky and also the island’s first whisky to be categorized as a single-grain Scotch. The limited-edition bottle is the third release in Bruichladdich’s Project series.
Islay Scotch is known for its smokiness, which is often achieved by using peat fires to dry malted barley. But peat is a finite resource, and harvesting it can also have a negative effect on certain ecosystems — so it’s certainly not the most sustainable way to make whisky, no matter how beloved and iconic to Islay it might be. Which is why the environmental initiatives tied to The Regeneration Project make the expression that much more interesting.
The idea for the new whisky dates back to 2016. Farming partner Andrew Jones was telling Bruichladdich Distillery production director Allan Logan that he was adding rye to his crop rotation at Coull Farm, an effort to avoid monoculture and improve soil health, among other things. Rye had never been grown on Islay before, but Bruichladdich believed in the project. The distillery agreed to buy the entire rye crop and make whisky out of it. So in trying something new, the B Corp-Certified distillery not only produced something different and exciting, it also made a move to help a local farmer keep costs down and improve soil health.
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The Regeneration Project is unpeated and comprises 55% rye and 45% malted barley, both of which are grown on Islay, and is 50% ABV. It’s been aged for five years in a mix of first-fill bourbon casks and virgin American oak casks. Logan hopes the new expression will attract both seasoned rye drinkers and newcomers to the category.
“I think the approach is that if you’re experienced in drinking rye whisky, you’d know what to expect, but what is unique I think is that it has the perfect balance,” Logan told Whiskey Magazine. “The aging and the way we’ve made it means there is a roundness that brings it together — it isn’t too spicy, and there is a lovely influence from the cask, giving more sweetness and honey.”
There are 1,800 bottles of The Regeneration Project available on Bruichladdich’s website for £125.
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