Scotch Review: Arran Orkney Bere

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This limited release bottling from one of our favourite distilleries combines a little taste of history along with the soft, sexy style that has become the trademark Arran’s whiskies.

Made in conjunction with the Agronomy Institue of Orkney College, this whisky uses a heritage strain of barley known as bere. Bere barley is Scotland’s oldest cultivated strain of barley and was used extensively for the production of whisky up until the 20th century. It has since been replaced in large part by higher yielding varieties and has become nearly extinct.

With this bottling Arran has proved that this ancient grain has some life left in it yet! The bere barley is sourced from the rugged Orkney Islands in the far North of Scotland. Aged for 8 years in bourbon casks, this picks up a rich golden/honey colour. The nose is dominated by sweet aromas of baked apple and roasted grains drizzled with honey. On the palate the whisky has a luxurious, mouth coating texture. Flavours of ripe mango, honey and granny smith apple glide through to a long, satisfying finish.

The verdict: This is a beautiful, finely crafted whisky which is much more than just a gimmick. It’s nice to see independent distilleries facing down the giant conglomerates and holding their own with unique and delicious bottlings. The funky packaging/labeling doesn’t hurt either!

$85 including tax

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