It’s been a while since I did a review of something coming out of Bruichladdich so that had to be resolved quickly for the start of 2019. This time I have picked up a 5 year old Octomore which was released 5 years ago at the start of 2014 and weirdly is still available from the official Bruichladdich website today.

The Distillery

The distillery on Islay used to have a wild and disruptive attitude since it was woken up by Mark Reynier and the team he pulled together. Since its purchase by Remy Cointreau two things have happened which are kind of bugging me. The prices are getting increasingly silly with both Octomore and Port Charlotte becoming increasingly premiumised which we will just assume is a word. The second thing is a grown up and corporate culture has taken over which leaves me feeling like I joined the party after all the cool kids have left and moved on. This is inevitable of course given the popularity of the brand now and the potential profitability which keeps the Remy balance sheet looking pretty healthy.

The Dram

The original price of the 6.1 was £95 but you can expect to pay more like £125 for a bottle today. This is inline with the latest batch 9.1 which is a similar price however you could be persuaded this is good value when the .3 versions using exclusively Islay barley are twice that price!

Regardless, this is a 5 year old whisky matured exclusively in ex-bourbon casks and bottled at cask strength in a black designer styled bottle. The percentage of alcohol is 57% and as with everything Bruichladdich it is natural colour and has only been barrier filtered. The extra nugget of information is one of the most important given this brand and it is the peat level of the barley before production. In this case it is 157ppm (parts per million) which isn’t the largest recorded but its a significantly sizeable amount of peat smoke where heavily peated is considered around 40ppm.

Tasting Notes

Colour – straw

Nose – embers, ash are all from the peat smoke. Behind the punchy peat is cereal notes and a saline sea spray

Palate – so so thick more ash and bonfires and peat and burning wood. Something of a sweeter aspect in and around all that peat and fire from chocolate

Finish – so so long and again more peat but more interesting is that sweet line running through the whole whisky.

Final Thoughts

To my mind this represented a more raw and intense version of Octomore. The more recent versions which I have tried have all been quite restrained in their approach which makes them perhaps more classy and complex. There is something raw, elemental and awesome about the 6.1 so grab one of the last ones if you come across it on a dusty shelf somewhere off the beaten track. Or buy from the official website

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