Terroir - regionality in whisky


What is terroir and what influence does it have on taste?

This question, which has already been answered in viticulture, has also been increasingly raised in the whisky world in recent times.

Our Master Distiller, Mario Rudolf, has a clear opinion on this, which he recorded in writing in the autumn edition of the Highland Herold: Terroir can be tasted!

In numerous new-make tastings, we have already been able to identify clear differences between locally grown barley and barley from other regions. However, this difference, which is influenced by the terroir, i.e. the nature of the soil in combination with other influencing factors such as climate or environment, is only of a taste and not of a qualitative nature.

Where does our Heimat Malt come from?

In the last weeks of December and the first weeks of January, we process only locally grown barley of the Laureate variety.

This was grown for us by organic farmer Andreas Henn in Reichartshausen, just a few kilometers away. After the harvest in August 2021, the barley was malted for us at Weyermann in Hassfurt.

The cooperation between farmer Henn and St. Kilian started in 2019 with the Planet barley variety, and the Laureate variety was added the following year. In a direct comparison of the two barley varieties, Laureate clearly prevailed. This trend can also be observed in Scotland, where it is slowly replacing Concerto, the barley variety that was predominantly cultivated in the past.

For 2021, we are relying completely on Laureate and were satisfied with the result of the harvest: Andreas Henn was able to harvest about 50 tonnes of grain, and after malting we are left with about 40 tonnes of barley malt.
Cultivated, malted and distilled in Lower Franconia - in order to maintain the regionality also during barrel ageing, the freshly distilled New Make matures in barrels from the region: Pinot Noir barrels from the Bürgstadt winery Fürst, strong beer barrels from the traditional Faust brewery, barrels made of Spessart oak.

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