Arcadian Barley, from our secret garden of delights, explores the natural flavours, intensity & honesty of old ways. Out of necessity since the dawn of time, peat (or turf) has been the primary fuel source in rural Ireland, with its sweet pungency familiar to generations gathered around the hearths of ancient thatched cottages. This same diffused aroma cloaked barley dried over peat smoke by illicit distillers, a custom that died out in the 1850s.
Ballybannon in Co. Carlow could be the perfect terroir for growing barley for peating. Sitting on raised ground along the banks of the River Barrow, its heavy, lime-rich soils — archetypal Elton series — are directly adjacent to sphagnum-dense inland bog. Small wonder then that the Pender family’s barley and peat from Niall Carroll’s Ballyteige cuttings in Co. Kildare have proven such a natural combination. Such is Ballybannon barley’s natural affinity for peat, that we have been able to kiln-dry it to a high 47ppm and still find that the character of Ballybannon’s terroir itself remains the dominant flavour in the spirit. Along with its sister bottling, Fenniscourt, Peated Ballybannon represents the first marriage of Irish barley and Irish peat in generations.