The world's most heavily peated single malt has had a brobdingnagian effect on a world aching for a challenge to comfortable convention. An esoteric series of numbered, experimental, mostly very limited releases, has fatally undermined the assumption that the quality of Scotch whisky is simply a function of its age.
Clinging to the hill high above Port Charlotte on the Rhinns of Islay is the enigma that is Octomore Farm, for Octomore too once housed a distillery. Even older than the beautiful village it overlooks, Octomore is a throwback to the days of fierce independence, when self sufficiency was the only option, and the legality of distillation itself still a revolutionary concept.
The men who tended the fires at Octomore would have grown the barley on their land, and cut the peat from their banks. The distillery burst into life in the distant days of 1816, long before the Clyde puffers were bringing coal in from Glasgow, and burnt brightly for a few short years. The spirit they produced would also have been heavily peated, and sold very young to a market keen to experience the unique flavours that emerge from this extraordinary island. We are confident they would have saluted Octomore today. The iron fist in the velvet glove.
This, Octomre 07.3, is the second release of Octomore of Octomore - Octomore whisky made from barley grown two miles along the coast from the distillery at farmer and friend James Brown's Octomore Farm.
was distilled in 2010 from grain harvested on Lorgba field the previous summer, peated to 169ppm and matured here on Islay for all its life in American bourbon barrels and Spanish wine casks of Ribera del Duero.
Uber provenance, uber experimental, Octomore of Octomore embodies the quintessence of our philosophy.
Elegant, powerful, deep and proud of its Islay DNA
Sun bleached sand
Opens with the unmistakeable hit of peat smoke followed by ozone and salt spray, then lemon cake. The marine notes characteristic of maturation by the shores of Lochindaal. Warm the glass in your hand and wait as apricot jam, cinder toffee, vanilla, buttercups and lilies rise and interweave.
The texture is a striking testament to the Distillerís art, rich and satin smooth despite the high strength. Initially there is salt on the lips with sweetness from the American Oak combining with the peat smoke. A second sip uncovers the heart of the dram through layers of peaches, apricot, melon and ginger syrup. Once there, malted Islay barley and toasted oak compliment floral notes of wild thyme, mint and buttercup.
Everything about this dram speaks of Islay and our slow distillation, the peat smoke and salt spray powerful yet gentle and complex. The Islay-grown barley gives a character like no other. The culmination of many hours of hard work, determination and skill, long after the glass is empty the peat embers from this whisky remain alive on your taste buds.