This year’s Kilchoman barley has been safely harvested and stored, thank goodness! The weather has now turned and it’s feeling decidedly Autumnal here on Islay. This year we grew a record 165 tonnes of Concerto barley in the fields to the north and west of the distillery, the farm team did a fantastic job to harvest in a short spell of good weather in early September. They weren’t helped by the combine harvester breaking down 10 metres into the first field, luckily, and in true Islay spirit, our neighbours, Raymond Stewart from Sunderland Farm and Andrew Jones from Coull Farm, turned up with their combines to help. Whilst 165 tonnes is the most we have ever grown here we were in fact hoping for a slightly higher yield. The barley got off to a good start but the weather went wet at the wrong time which meant that the grains did not fill out properly. Such is life and typical of growing barley in such challenging conditions.
The 165 tonnes harvested has now been dried and will be used for malting and distilling of Kilchoman 100% Islay spirit throughout 2017. We are yet to formulate plans for next year however they are likely to involve growing a similar quantity to this year although we may experiment with a variety called Planet which some Islay farmers have grown this year with some success though this would likely be in only a couple of fields. We’ll keep you posted!