I spent the last weekend catching up with all that’s new in the world of whisky at London’s The Whisky Exchange’s Whisky Show. The show runs for two days, with the third day being a trade day, a quieter, more relaxed day with time to chat with the people from the industry. There were also a couple of masterclasses which I attended. Bruichladdich used their masterclass to introduce their new lineup presented with Bruichladdich’s Scottish Barley, the Islay Barley, the Black Art 4.3 (reviewd here), and the brand new Port Charlotte Islay Barley and the Octomore Islay Barley. But before the review, a story.
Bruciladdich are very much into the terroir of whisky, making local sourcing their flagship and still toting very much their being a farm distillery. Octomore is named after Octomore farms, one of the farms that supply the distillery with locally grown barley and also the source of the clean, unpeated water they use to bring the finishes whisky to bottling strength. The farm is owned by James Brown, who’s niece, Joanne Brown is brand ambassador for Bruichladdich and who very ablely led the masterclass.
The Octomore Islay Barley was made using Octomore Farm Barley and has some Octomore water in it (yup, 64% ABV and still has some water in it). It’s aged 5 years, peated to 258 ppm and is touted as “the most heavily peated whisky ever”.
Octomore 06.3 Islay Barley (64% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Amber, very slow droplets forming.
Nose: Ferraro Rocher chocolate ball (chocolat, wafer, hazelnut), vanilla, a dirty peat comes in only after the initial scents, and the a bakery door opens up to reveal freshly baking bread and cakes.
Palate: Sweet fruit, vanilla, smoked haddock and smoked muzzarela cheese, citrus notes. Very mouth filling and smooth for all it’s ABV.
Linger: The linger is long with vanilla cream, peat and citrus notes. A very warming dram.
This is a beautiful whisky, which makes for easy drinking despite being (almost) cask strength, and a high one at that.