The Bruichladdich Octomore series holds the record for some of the most peated whisky in the world, with some bottles at over 300 ppm (phenolic parts per million). Peat is often described as an acquired taste but despite this, peated whisky has developed a huge dedicated following. Phil gives his thoughts and tasting notes on the Bruichladdich Octomore 1.1.
The biggest, the baddest, the ultimate in huge peat and spirit influences. Bruichladdich has done so much with this range, and as a drinker who’s all about fun cask influences and ridiculous numbers – Octomore really has nailed that in every way imaginable. Haven’t heard too many insane things from them in the last few releases, their 8.3 release peaked at 309 PPM and their travel retail bottles have loads of red wine or sherry driven flavour. But let’s crack on with the original, the alpha bottling.
Colour: Veritas rum.
Nose: Putting the smoke to one side, this is loaded with grapefruit, apricot, vanilla cream, and lemon. Outside of that, I can only imagine that this is what a burning fire on a trawler ship smells like, in the middle of a storm that would put any hurricane to shame. This is the only whisky I would really want in that situation. There is something within this spirit that seems to grip you from the inside and bring you back to reality, it gives you focus.
Palate: Assertive. Roaring chilli spice and loads of mezcal/anejo tequila flavours. Salty, green olives, seaweed, parsley. Bell peppers and mixed peppercorns. Those clean and refreshing flavours of earthy vegetables, all backed up with surging spice and fizziness on the tongue.
Finish: Powerful with smoke and green herbs, but also really mellow towards the end. Ex-bourbon influences are bringing in vanilla and custard to help smooth off the edges of the fire and spice that Octomore spirit wants to deliver to you on a plate. If anything, those sweeter notes feel like the calming down period after a fight.
Assessment: I mean…you’ll never forget it. That’s the best thing you can say about any well-made whisky.