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
I quite adore the Octomore line up from Bruichladdich. As one who considers himself as a peathead, having a unique extremely highly peated whisky line is nothing less than a blessing. I tasted and reviewed a few Octomores and I always look forward for new expressions to see what else do they have in their tricks bag.
The latest Octomore release was in late 2015; the Octomore 7.4. It’s the first time that Bruichladdich has reached the x.4 number for an Octomore release. Here’s a quick primer for you: the x.1 represents the ‘natural’ (bourbon casks) release, x.2 represents the wine finish, x.3 which is a relatively recent addition is the Islay (local) barley variant and now we have x.4 – the Virgin Oak variant.
This time it’s not a simple and straightforward case of putting an Octomore spirit (at 167 ppm) into Virgin Oak casks and bottling them 7 years later, oh no. Instead, it’s a a combination of 25% full-term maturation in virgin oak casks and 75% that were matured for 3 year in first fill ex-bourbon casks, transferred for 2 years in virgin oak casks and then finished for another 2 year in first fill bourbon. So Octomore 7.4 is 7 years old instead of the customary 5 years old we are used to see and should boast a fruity and sweet profile.
Why the change? what made Adam Hannett and the Bruichladdich team change the formula?
Fortunately, we do have some insight into the process here as some casks of 7yo Octomore fully matured in Virgin Oak casks were on public tasting in the months leading to the official release. Thanks to the Bruichladdich team and a friend, I managed to taste such a cask that was showcased in Bruichladdich Feis Ile 2015 event:
Bruichladdich Octomore 2008 single cask #1202 from Feis Ile 2015 (64.4%)
Nose: Very closed and muted at first due to the high ABv but slowly heavy sweetness develops along with heavy flowered meadow, apricots and peaches grove, burnt toffee, a bit over-burnt caramel, coals and wood smoke, late night bonfire remnants, almost not peated after the active cask robbed the phenols for 7 years. Continue reading
Feis Ile has started yesterday with Lagavulin day and now onward to Bruichladdich. Last years festival bottling was Octomore Discovery, quadruple distilled and aged for 7 years in sherry casks.
Bruichladdich Octomore Discovery 7 Year Old (69.5%)
Nose: Very restrained, showing lots of fruitiness on the front seat and some peat smoke in the background. I doesn’t smell like a very peated whisky (like Octomore) but I guess we can attribute it to the quadruple distillation (and casks selection). Citrus (oranges and lemon), creamy cereals, vanilla. on the back there’s the smoke, wood smoke and damp peat. Continue reading
Last review was a Bruichladdich Port Charlotte and on its heels is another peated Bruicladdich review. This time, the latest offering in the Octomore series – Octomore 7.2
Like in previous Octomore releases, the x.2 suffix means some fancy/special wine finish (For example: Octomore 6.2 was Cognac finish) and this time it’s a Syrah wine (from the Northern Rhone Valley) finish.
Bruichladdich Octomore 7.2 (58.5%, €154.99)
Nose: Restrained and smooth peat, vanilla, sweet red berries that slowly develop into a formidable dry red wine impact but the it’s beautifully balanced with the peat. There’s a strong back-end of cereals and fruity notes supporting this all. Due to the high ABV I tried it with a few drops of water and it’s showing more cereal and barley, lighter peat and weaker wine impact. Continue reading