Released since 2008, the Octomore series is a one-of-a-kind collection of heavily-peated whiskies from the Scottish island of Islay.
It’s undeniable that the characteristics of wine, whisky, and other spirits are largely defined and formed by the various terroirs, weather, and a multitude of factors. Well, now let’s take a look at the Hebridean island of Islay (pronounced eye-la), an area in Scotland that houses nine active whisky distilleries at the moment. They include the likes of Bowmore, Ardberg, and Lagavulin.
Located on the southwestern tip of the island is Bruichladdich — a distillery first established in 1991 and currently owned by Remy Cointreau since 2012. In addition to unpeated Islay single malt Scotch whisky, Bruichladdich, the distillery also produces Port Charlotte (heavily peated Islay single malt Scotch whisky) and Octomore (more on this in a bit) as well as The Botanist Gin. In fact, the latter is described as the first Islay dry gin.
Since 2008, Bruichladdich Distillery has introduced a new series of convention-defying single malts in the form of Octomore. Known to be super heavily-plated (think of it as being smoked), Octomore single malts are always bottled close to cask strength (hence, the higher alcohol by volume or ABV) and matured for five years. In addition, the whiskies are also un-chill filtered, retaining as much natural barley essence as possible.
This year, Bruichladdich unveils the 13th edition of the Octomore series, still taking an important look at how cask management, varying peat levels, and barley provenance can influence the pursuit of flavour. Comprising 13.1, 13.2, and 13.3, each bottling from the latest Octomore series is unique and distinctive in its own way.
For starters, Octomore 13.1 — with rich notes of vanilla, coconut, and toffee — underwent a five-year maturation before being refilled into fresh ex-American oak casks. On the palate, expect gooseberry citrus and smoked apricot jam. This whisky has an ABV of 59.2%.
Similar to Octomore 13.1, Octomore 13.2 is made using Scottish Mainland barley and malted at 137.3 PPM (parts per million). The difference between the two options lies in the latter’s use of first fill Spanish Oloroso butts. The single malt — with 58.3% ABV — emanates a hint of warm orange marmalade and smoked nuts; with the sherry integrating with the spirit’s signature salty tang.
Bottled at 61.1% ABV is the 13.3. Said to only contain Islay-grown barley from Octomore Farm, the spirit is initially matured in first fill ex-American whisky barrels as well as second fill European oak casks. For the European oak casks, Bruichladdich sources from both Spain’s Ribera del Duero region and France’s Rivesaltes region. With every sip, expect brown sugar, coconut, and marzipan among others.
Have you tried Bruichladdich’s Octomore series yet? If not, it’s time to give the 13th annual batch a go!
Learn more about the 13th Octomore series HERE.
(Photos by Bruichladdich)
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