Octomore 8.3 Masterclass Review

After being a bit distracted by the Old Pulteney 2004 we’re back at some more Octomores and today we’re checking Octomore 8.3.

Unlike Octomore 8.1 and Octomore 8.2, Octomore 8.3 is only 5 year old which is more or less in line with previous Octomore generations. The barley was grown in a single field at Octomore farm (Bruichladdich Distillery neighbors) and 56% of the whisky was matured in ex-Bourbon casks and 44% matured in European oak casks. 18,000 bottles at 61.2% were produced.

The 309 PPM (Phenols per million) figure for Octomore 8.3 is mightly impressive, and probably holds the unofficial Guinness world record for the peatiest barley, but we do know that the PPM level drops rapidly from the malted barley stage to the final product (depending on distillation, barrels, etc). Nevertheless, I guess we still should expect heavy influence in the whisky so let’s check it out.

Octomore 8.3 Masterclass (61.2%, £156.55/€189,95)

Nose: Malt, damp peat bomb, thick and dense heather honey with little vanilla. Salt and meat. Vinegar (like pickles in vinegar), overripe pears and peaches, cream. With water: the intensity goes down and we get some wood smoke, chocolate and more pears and peaches.

Palate: Intense and dense peat, thick honey, vanilla, somewhat sour and bitter, pears, peaches, chocolate, cured meat and salt. With water: wood smoke.

Finish: Medium length (only…really thought it will be extremely long), malt, salt, lingering sweet honey, peat, wood smoke, chocolate and oak spices.

Thoughts: A conflicting whisky. On one hand the heavy peat shows up quite remarkably here and the whisky is intense and peaty but on the other hand I’m not so sure I like that single minded attitude impact here. There are good things in this whisky, I like it’s intensity and strong peat flavors but something just didn’t click with me here. Maybe it’s a bit too one dimensional? Personally I prefer Octomore 8.2 over this one.

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