Clocking in at 309.1PPM at malting, this Octomore expression is the peatiest Bruichladdich in history, and quite possibly the peatiest whisky ever recorded.
Bruichladdich is an award-winning distillery employing generations of distilling knowledge and the principle of minimal intervention. Built in 1881 on the wild Scottish island of Islay, their distillery still uses the original Victorian equipment to create a range of single malt whiskies that are trickle distilled, matured and bottled solely on Islay by a skilled team of men and women. Bruichladdich implements revolutionary, modern interpretations of time-honored ideas and challenges the comfortable conventions of a whisky establishment.
Rejecting the onset of modern automation and homogenization, Bruichladdich Head Distiller, Adam Hannett, only considers production methods that place the quality of liquid above everything else. Diversity starts in the field. Provenance is key. They believe the interaction of man, land, soil and climate is paramount. They value their farmer relationships, reconnecting that lost cycle between farmer and distiller -- land and spirit.
The modern Bruichladdich Distillery is known as the most experimental and adventurous of the Scottish distilleries, and the Bruichladdich Octomore Series represents a singularly unique expression in the world of Scotch whisky.
The Octomore farm is situated on the Rhinns of Islay, a remote area nestled high upon a hill, overlooking the village of Port Charlotte. Octomore harkens to the days of stone cold independence during a time when the legality of distilling had just barely entered the era of “enlightenment."
The word Octomore means “the big eighth,” it’s a term derived from the medieval division of common ground. The Original Octomore distillery was founded in 1816 by George Montgomery. The original spirit they produced at Octomore would have been heavily peated, and being distilled on the brine-soaked shores of the Loch Indaal, the whisky would have been sold very young.
The 49 tons of barley, grown on the Octomore farm, are germinated over a period of three days. Using a Sphagnum-based peat high in incredibly high in phenols, so high in fact, that Octomore 8.3 is one of Bruichladdich's most heavily peated whiskies, producing a reading of an astronomical 309.1PPM (Phenol Parts per Million), the highest ever recorded at the malting stage.
The peat used to dry the barley used in Octomore is sourced from a Caithness Croft, situated in the vastness of Northern Scotland also known as “The Flow Country.” An area where peat has been cultivated since the ice age, developing in waterlogged, anaerobic blanket bogs, forming from the partial decomposition of vegetal matter.
Dried over peat for five days, the malt is then shipped to Islay, where it is ground into grist using a mill made by Robert Boby, installed at the distillery in 1913. The grist is meticulously analyzed before being mashed and fermented in Douglas fir washbacks. The wash is then twice distilled in 17,275 liter steam heated copper distinct from the much wider pot stills that are traditionally used to distill heavily peated Islay whiskies. This is the first chapter in the Octomore odyssey to be entirely created by Head Distiller Adam Hannett. Distillation is also overseen by Production Director Allan Logan.
The only expression of the series to be aged five years instead of eight, Octomore 8.3 is aged in a variety of toasted ex-Bourbon and ex-wine casks crafted from European oak (56% ex-Bourbon American oak; 44% ex-Pauillac, Ventoux, Rhône and Burgundy European oak casks), which impart their own unique characteristics onto the spirit, collectively yielding a nutty, sweet, and floral aromas. Peat takes center stage in this Octomore expression, but this 5YO is also full of dark chocolate, peaches, and cherries. A bold whisky that reminisces back to the early days of the Octomore distillery. Bottled at a staggering 61.2% ABV.
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122.4 (61.2% ABV)
Toasted oak and peat on the nose with notes of maple syrup, fresh linen, and sea shells, followed by peat moss, and subtle floral notes. Aromas of cherry, peach and mango, are followed by crème brulee and toffee. On the palate there is again a strong sense of bitter peat, with notes of cherry, peach, toasted sweet oak, dark chocolate, and seaweed. The finish is complex, with crème brûlée caramelized brown sugar. Notes of dark plum, orange and kiwi are followed by a malted barley sweetness. The finish is heavily peated with roasted coffee, and burnt heather.