Origin: Isle of Islay (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon first fill
Added coloring: No
Owner: Bruichladdich (Rèmy Cointreau)
Average price: € 160.00
Official website: www.bruichladdich.com
Here we are at the first bottle of the eleventh series of Octomore, Bruichladdich’s peat on steroids.
Distilled in 2014 using Concerto and Propino quality barley harvested the previous year, it spent five years in ex-Bourbon casks from Heaven Hill, Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s resulting in 30,000 bottles.
This series produced three bottlings, and was eventually joined by a 10 year old, soon to be featured on these pages.
Peat level at 139.6ppm, a number that actually means very little, but… yeah, well, it’s a lot!
Straw yellow in the glass.
As is often the case with this series, the monstrous peatiness on paper is not matched by the expected punch on the nose. The nose is pleasantly woody, with scents of leaves, moss and toasted pine bark with sprinkles of chinotto. There is a sea breeze blowing through the aromas, bringing with it a certain freshness, and as time goes by fruit notes emerge from the glass (grapefruit, pineapple), an impression of vanilla, tobacco. The profile remains on balsamic and citrus tones, with smoke acting as a background rather than a protagonist, in an almost incredible balance. And in all this, the alcohol is practically invisible.
On the palate the alcohol recalls its presence (it’s still almost 60 degrees, mind you!) with a pronounced peppery burn on a full and oily body that takes up the sylvan theme, still veined with citrus, with the addition of spicy reflections and a hint of liquorice. Kentucky tobacco. In the background, a hint of vanilla and cream that emerges along the length, but it is really an impression that can be grasped in flashes.
A long finish where the peat takes its revenge and occupies the mouth and glass with ashy tones tinged with balsamic and citrus tones.
What is striking about this series is the extraordinary ability to maintain the balance of a peat pushed to excess, capable of integrating with the personality of each ageing without overwhelming it, creating spirits that are not always memorable but which demonstrate a mastery in the management of casks that is commendable.
Once again, a whisky that derives its emotions from the extraordinary form in which it was made rather than from the sensory experience itself, but wish there were more!
The Scotch Noob