Age: 5 years old
Styling themselves as ‘progressive Hebridean distillers’, Bruichladdich has released its fair share of interesting whisky experiments over the years. While some of these are now found on the junkyard of bravely tried but failed ideas (such as Bruichladdich X4), the Octomore range sure has proved a big success. At 167 ppm, Octomore 06.1 was the peatiest whisky in the world when it was released, although it has since been superseded by newer Octomore expressions. In comparison, heavily peated whiskies like Laphroaig and Ardbeg are peated to ‘only’ about 40-55 ppm. Combine this with the fact that Octomore is bottled at 57% abv and this whisky sure knows how to pack a punch. The youthfulness of this whisky notwithstanding, I for one absolutely love this dram!
Colour: Deep gold
Nose: Dry and pungent, with strong medicinal notes. The ethanolic aroma gives an indication that this is a rather young whisky. Underneath the tempest of peat, scents of heather and lavender give way to grilled seafood.
Palate: The body is oily and immediately erupts into a liquid bonfire. There is sweet wood smoke, but the iodine found on the nose is not very present here. Instead there are notes of Lapsang tea and meat charred over a campfire. These make way for earthy flavours and a hint of briny seaweed.
Finish: The warming sensation is immense and lasts almost endlessly. The sweet taste of peaty, charred wood lingers long, long after the glass is empty.
Verdict: Would you believe this is only a five year old whisky?! Sure, it’s all about smokiness, but Octomore also offers a great depth of flavours. Although this is peat taken to the extreme, Bruichladdich have somehow kept this whisky from becoming one-dimensional and that’s quite an achievement. From nose to finish, this whisky just keeps on getting better and better. More still, you get to keep enjoying it long after your last sip. To me, that’s the mark of a great whisky and I really recommend you give this peat monster a try!