The Octomore brand is the most heavily peated range of whiskies which Bruichladdich currently bottle. There are two stories circulating about the Octomore origins. The first being that the barley is peated to at least 80ppm (Octo). The second and correct story is the name comes from the Octomore farm owned by James Brown and the source for the water used in bottling all Bruichladdich expressions.
They say a picture speaks a thousand words so a video of Jim McEwan discussing an expression from 2010 must speak 10 times that. So let me sort that for you..
The OBA (Octomore Black Arts) was a recent limited edition release from the distillery and sold exclusively through their website. The release was for only 3000 500ml bottles and only 2 bottles per person was allowed. The Black Art series is a series of whiskies which were marketed to put a spotlight on the master blender. None of these whiskies market their composition in a move the polar opposite to all other expressions where you can get the entire recipe online. The general theme though is they contain a lot of well aged stock and add layers of complexity through interweaving the flavours from a broad palate of casks.
The first time this expression was shown to the world was during the 2016 Feis Ile masterclass at the distillery. This was very well received dram and in April 2017 it was bottled and released to the masses.
The original selling price for this was £95 plus shipping but is now only available from auction sites or friends.
Colour – rustic orange
Nose – very sweet but there is a touch of the sea as well. Strong cask influences from what I think is a Rivesalte cask. That gives a sherry like richness and sweetness with over ripe grapes. The peat is fairly restrained on the nose for what is the world’s most peated whisky brand.
Palate – Very thick texture. The strength doesn’t really bite which shows a quality distillation process. The peat smoke is more obvious and pronounced as a dry and vegetal smoke. The arrival brings toffee and caramel notes but develops into seaweed, a drop of lemon juice and finishing with some glace cherries.
Finish – long rich finish which will continue for hours at the back of your throat. A touch of tobacco leaf and ash trays as well as a sweet note within the smoke.
With the smaller bottle size more people have been able to afford and buy a bottle than perhaps might not have been able to. That is to be commended by Bruichladdich as giving just a little bit back to the Octomore fans where the Octomore brand is definitely top end premium whisky.
The actual whisky itself I like and is the evidence to any critic who might think Octomore is nothing more than an intense one trick smoky pony.