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. Continue reading
I reviewed Octomore 8.1 last week but I can’t really stop here so let’s head on to the next one in the series – Octomore 8.2.
Just like Octomore 8.1, it’s 100% Scottish barley peated to 167 ppm level and carries an 8 year old age statement.
The x.2 suffix in the series is reserved for wine maturation or finish, but this year it’s kind of extreme as the casks composition is complex. At first, the Octomore spirit spent six years in one of three different types of wine casks (all second fill casks):
- French Mourvedre
- Austrian sweet wines
- French Sauternes
And then finished (or as Bruichladdich call it: ACEd) in fresh Amarone casks for additional two years. From those Amarone casks, 36,000 were produced for the travel retail shops.
Octomore 8.2 Masterclass (58.4%, ~€159.90)
Nose: Sweet malt and sweet red wine, tannins, nuts, lactic, moss, big time leather- new shoe leather and smoked leather. Red gooseberry, freshly cut wet peat. After a few minutes, perfume, bay leaves, cloves, and more and more leather. Continue reading
Currently we’re having here a short spell of rainy days and a bit colder weather (unfortunately just a bit) which is refreshing to have in April after yet another too dry winter. Let’s use the occasion to check out a heavily peated whisky, Bruichladdich Octomore 8.1.
This Octomore 8.1 is peated to 167 ppm level, was distilled in 2008 using only Scottish barley. The casks used for this expressions are all first fill american oak casks. According to Bruichladdich casks from Buffalo Trace, Clermont Springs, Four Roses, Heaven Hill & Jack Daniels were used here and the long list explains how 42,000 bottles were made.
Octomore 8.1 Masterclass (Scottish Barley) (59.3%, £109)
Nose: Soft smoke, creamy with vanilla and fruitiness, green melon (that weakens over time), orange orchard, pastry and almonds and more fruit sweetness after a few minutes. Continue reading
It was confirmed earlier today that we will see some Octomores on the shelves here next month. Hurray! And while celebrating this piece of news, I’ve noticed that I had neglected to post notes for Octomore 7.1 while reviewing 7.2, 7.3 and 7.4, so it’s time to get it fixed.
Octomore 7.1 was the last Octomore that Jim McEwan did for Bruichladdich before he retired after more than 50 years in the industry. It was made using Scottish barley peated to a then high record of 208 ppm and then was matured for 5 years in American oak barrels.
Bruichladdich Octomore 7.1 (59.5%, £107/€128,05)
Nose: Sweet smoke, peat, honey, vanilla pods, half cured half raw meat. After a few minutes getting red fruit: plums and red apples and also peaches marmalade with a honeyed perfume. Continue reading
Octomore OBA is not a normal Octomore release. In fact you could say it’s kind of a foster child of the family. It’s wasn’t released as a member of the annual series nor did it get any official numerical assignment (x.1 to x.4) but instead it was a separate release with irregular bottle size (which delayed the release).
It’s the Octomore version of the Black Art series (hence the OBA naming), 10 wine casks matured Octomore spirit with a secret recipe. Although Bruichladdich preaches transparency, when it comes to Black Art releases, the leaps are sealed. All we know that it’s a vatting of 10 casks from four different vintages with the youngest vintage hailing from 2008 so it’s a 8-9 years old whisky. What else do we know? that there are six different cask types and all from a single barley strain.
Octomore OBA Concept (59.7%)
Nose: Smoke and sweet honey at first, followed by vanilla and red wine, solid earthy peat, whole black pepper, red fruit, grapes, tannins but it’s pretty rich with dry smoke. After a while it’s smoky sweet red wine with some tannins, smoked meat, getting flatter with time and oxygen. Continue reading
A new wave of Octomores is hitting the shelves with Octomore 8.1 and with 3 more releases (8.2, 8.3 and 8.4) coming till January. So it’s a good time to clear the “waiting for review” shelf from older Octomores and so we have a review of Octomore 7.3.
Like with previous x.3 Octomores, it’s Islay barley Octomore and in fact could be called Local Barley Octomore as the barley was grown in Octomore farm. It was distilled back in 2010 and peated to 169 ppm, aged in bourbon barrels and red wine casks from Ribera del Duero in Spain.
Nose: Big hit of sweet and earthy peat, soft peat smoke, malt, honey, pears and apricots, salt sprinkled pastry, very thick and jammy. After a while we get more red fruit, sour red berries, also becoming herbal along with mint freshness. With a few drops of water we are treated with lots of herbs, red fruit but it’s also less meaty. Continue reading
Islay is a small island with a population count hovering around 3,300 people. Many of them are working in the whisky and tourism industry and so it’s logical that some of them rose to fame and can even be celebrities for whisky lovers. But not all Islay celebrities are human, as some would argue that Crofter, a dog owned by Steve Bavin, now of Islay Ales and formerly of Bruichladdich distillery, can also be considered as a local celebrity, especially during the yearly Feis pilgrimage.
Crofter, a dog who entertains his owner Steve and other Islay visitors over the years is featured on a private bottling done by Steve, both in title and label, and I’m sure Crofter contributed a lot to the success of this 11 year old Bruichladdich by sniffing out the right cask. Or maybe it’s just because Steve worked there and knew which cask to select?
Bruichladdich 2003 11 Year Old Crofter’s Cask (61.1%)
Nose: Very clean, lots of minerals, melon and honey, dusty when sniffed neat, very little peat and smoke, salt. Continue reading
Today’s the second day of Feis Ile 2017, so happy Laddie day y’all!
In honor of Laddie day, I’ve decided to review a two years old whisky which surprisingly can still be found in many web shops – The Port Charlotte PC12 “Oileanach furachail”. The PC12 signaled the start of Adam Hannett hegemony at Bruichladdich and leads a different way from the PC11.
Oh, and while we’re at it, I’ve also thrown in a bonus review of the PC7, always interesting to see how things develops over time.
Bruichladdich Port Charlotte PC 12 “Oileanach furachail”(58.7%, €119,99)
Nose: I think the whisky got oxidized a bit as we’re having a more gentle nose then I recall when I first tasted it. Gentle dried red fruit with heavy dose of red berries and a topping of dry smoke, honey shines through sometinmes. It has smooth edges with nothing too sharp (“blame” or bless the oxidization). With more time in glass, lovely milk chocolate and teaspoon of coffee with dry smoke throughout it all. Continue reading
It’s full blown blossoming spring time here – getting warmer, greenery all around, and so a fitting day for a spring-time Bruichladdich dram. A bottling from Speciality Drinks Ltd (the sister company to The Whisky Exchange, although Billy from TWE may say “it’s complex” on the relationships 😉 )
It’s a 1992 vintage, 23 year old that matrured in a Hogshead #3839 that was bottled in August 2016, yielding 237 bottles.
Bruichladdich 1992 23 Year Old (The Single Malts of Scotland) (55.4%, 237 bottles, £125/€165)
Nose: Starts fruity with a lot of spiced melon, oak wood spices, a bit of a damp wood which dampens my mood as I don’t like it too much, eucalyptus, a weak honey note and after a while, the fruitiness tends towards the sour side with newly developed minerals. Adding some water brings out some vanilla and less of the minerals but also a less fruitiness which is a loss. Continue reading
I know it’s been a while since my last post on the blog, but it’s not a paying gig and there were other things that were occupying my free time. I’ll try to get back to posting on a more regular basis and I’ll start with a recap and review of the #LaddieMP5 event held by Bruichladdich last Thursday.
In case you aren’t familiar with the MP term, MP means Micro Provenance as Bruichladdich are keen on testing and exploring the impact of terroir, barley and casks on the final result and last Thursday was the 5th public MP event (hence the #LaddieMP5 hashtag) where multitude of people around the world were tasting 3 whiskies chosen especially for the events. You can see the full live broadcast right here:
This time it was all Port Charlotte whiskies, peated to 40 ppm (as is the usual rate for PC whiskies), all of the same age (+/- few months).
Here are the notes I gathered on the #LaddieMP5 drams:
Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 10 Year Old (Fresh Bourbon cask) (56.9%, cask #1999)
Nose: starts malty and intense with promises of spices with pepper and freshly sawed oak wood. Now the peat shows up and there’s a strong feel of freshness and sweetness despite strong note of salt. A few whiffs of fish sauce like being on the beach near the fishermen with their fresh haul, honey and vanilla pudding, I did say fresh, right? Getting sweeter over time, more vanilla pudding and the peat can’t rise farther and stays relaxed with a bit of perfume and peaches. Continue reading