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Last week saw the momentous sowing of a large field of “Laureate Barley” for The Fynoderee Distillery in the South of the Island by Pentti Christian of Ellerslie Farm. We hope that this crop will eventually be used by our Master Distiller Rusty, to create a Manx Single Malt Whiskey. Though you’ll have to be patient….It will need to age in oak barrels for a minimum of 3 years and 1 days before we can legally call it so!
All being well, we hope to be harvesting this bespoke crop around the end of August this year. To be successful for malting, the crop needs the right growing conditions….Some light April showers followed by warm sunshine later in the summer would be ideal and preferably no 'hoolies' around harvest time! Last year’s harvest really suffered from the dry spring, a wet stormy summer and back to back storms at harvest time - so we have our fingers tightly crossed for a better growing season this year.
This field at Scarlett is only one of a handful of locations where we are planting malt barley varieties and should the year’s harvest be as successful as we hope, we will reach a threshold for achieving a “Manx Origin Preserve” malting with our specialist malting house, Warminster Maltings. Combined with our pure Manx water, our whiskey will be a true celebration of our Island’s unique 'terroir'.
Laureate Barley is a malting barley that is particularly suited for Manx conditions and should yield reliably well. It is a non-GN variety of spring barley that’s particularly good for malt distilling.
While we wait for this bespoke crop to grow and ripen, we have a small amount of malted Manx barley from last year’s harvest that will enable us to commence our commercial whiskey production over the coming weeks.
We also have our very first ‘trial barrel’ of Manx Whiskey (created using a fermented wash made for us by Bushy's Brewery Ltd back in December 2018) reaching maturation in December this year – this will provide a tantalising glimpse into the amber future of Manx Single Malt - You could even call it a Malt-teaser!
We have been eagerly watching the progress of the Laureate Barley grown for us by Pentti Christian at Knockrushen Farm (Scarlett) since the day it was sown back in March. Co-founder Tiffany was delighted to be there last week witnessing this historic harvest.