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Octomore 2 (140 ppm)

Octomore 2 (140 ppm)

I got an email from Mark Reynier at Bruichladdich this morning with the Octomore 2 press release that’s already been posted all over the blogosphere. Cool…am I “press” now? :-)

Anyway, it was interesting timing, as I just tried Bruichladdich 3D3, the peated bottling from a couple of years ago that contains the first ever Octomore (vatted with Port Charlotte and some standard Laddie). I really like the 3D3, which reminds me quite a bit of Ardbeg. It’s got a lot of smoke and peat, but somehow delivers it in a way that doesn’t bowl you over. Check out this Singlemalt.tv video with Jim McEwan, where he talks about the process of making Octomore. It gives a little more background on how they achieve the “iron fist in a velvet glove” delivery described below in the press release.

I used to think Octomore was nothing but a marketing gimmick. It might very well be a marketing gimmick to a certain extent, but having tasted 3D3 and seen that Jim McEwan video, I’m now kind of intrigued by the release. Plus, I admit that I am a sucker for the cool looking bottle. However, what I’d really like to do is compare Bruichladdich Peat (replacement for 3D3), Port Charlotte PC7, and Octomore side-by-side to see how the PC and Octomore influence the Peat release. I’m just not so sure about paying $400 to do it. Wouldn’t it be great if Bruichladdich offered a reasonably priced sampler pack containing these three expressions? Maybe 100 ml samples like Glenmorangie does with their sample pack. Even better…include a sample of a “standard” Bruichladdich, and let us experiment with our own vatting!

The World’s Peatiest Whisky Just Got Peatier

Octomore  is now 7%  more peaty than the inaugural 2008 record-breaker.

The peatiness, at 140 ppm (parts per million) in the original malted barley, gives this whopper a huge peat smoke punch, almost 30% more than its nearest rival to the title.

It is referred to as ‘the iron fist in a velvet glove’ owing to the whisky’s surprisingly subtle charms, and is distilled at Islay’s Bruichladdich Distillery by head distiller Jim McEwan:

“It’s a great equation: massive peat + Bruichladdich elegance = awesome spirit. We dialed up the peating level of this 2nd bottling of Octomore because it seemed churlish not to.”

“But Octomore is not for the feint-hearted. At this peating level it is for savouring; a little goes an awful long way. Taste with minimal water to appreciate and share in its evolution.”

“Dr Riffkin, Tatlock & Thompson’s analyst that certified the whisky, told me: “this is the highest peating level we have ever seen – by miles.”

Another slice of Octomore anyone?


Notes for Editors:

Distributed in the UK by Blavod, 202 Fulham Road, London SW10 9PJ - contact: rambler@blavodextreme.com or Phyllis Taylor 0207 3522096  Exports: Andrew Gray andrew@bruichladdich.com

Peat smoke was traditionally used to arrest by desiccation the germination of malting barley to provide fermentable sugars.

Octomore is an Islay single malt distilled at Bruichladdich distillery annually since 2003.

Octomore 2009 bottling was distilled from barley that measured 140 ppm parts per million of total phenols in the original malted barley by the industry standard method of HPLC.

The certificate of analysis of the Octomore 2009 bottled whisky by Tatlock & Thompson Scientific Services is available for inspection at Bruichladdich Distillery.

15,000 numbered bottles are available worldwide at cask strength.

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Introduction

A pour from a Bruichladdich 15 mini

A pour from a Bruichladdich 15 mini

I was at my local liquor store, and I mentioned to an employee that I had never tried Bruichladdich [brook-laddie].  He pointed me to the 15 year and talked about how it was finished in Sauternes wine casks.  Then he mentioned that they just got some 50 ml miniatures of it in stock.  Cool, a chance to try it without full commitment!  At home, I was reading the tiny print on the bottle and canister, looking for mention of the casks.  I couldn’t find any. The bottle did state that this whisky is bottled at 46%, and the canister points out that that it’s not chill-filtered or artificially colored. Sounds good so far.

Looking online, I discovered that the Bruichladdich 15 year “Second Edition” is the one that is finished in Sauternes casks.  What I had in my hand was a miniature of the first edition Bruichladdich 15.  This one is a vatting of 85% whisky from American Oak casks, and 15% from Spanish Oak casks.  I’m guessing they got a pretty good deal on these from the distributer.  I checked back at the store the next day, and it is indeed the Second Edition full size bottle that they have in stock (it says Second Edition on the bottle).  Oh well, it’s still a chance for me to get my first taste of a Bruichladdich.  Let’s take this outdated mini for a spin…

Tasting notes

On the nose, I’m getting some light winey notes (white wine, not sherry), and a lemon, floral mix.  Something else is there that I want to call a pine scent.  Not real pine, necessarily, but the artificial pine scent you might find in air fresheners or cleaners. If I leave my nose in the glass a while, I feel like there is some vanilla as well.

On the palate, it reminds me of semi-sweet melon, and then some peppery spice comes through.  It’s pretty light weight, though.  The finish?  Not much of one…the pepper lingers for a very short period, and it seems a little salty.  Then it all quickly disappears.

Conclusion: I’ve read the distillery notes, and a couple of reviews now, and they mention a “fresh” scent/taste with the Bruichladdich 15.  I don’t know what “fresh” tastes or smells like, though.  Is it that pine scent I was picking up?  To me, this malt is very ordinary.  The nose is Ok, but doesn’t really pull me in.  It’s very easy on the palate; nothing offensive there, but then it’s quickly gone and forgotten.  It IS very drinkable.  I could move right through quite a few ml of this stuff without really thinking about it.  It’s just not something I want to sit with in the evening and savor. I find it very average.

At $40, I think this would be a great daily drinker, or perhaps something light and easy on a summer afternoon.  However, at the current price of $85 (if you can find it), I just don’t see it.  At that price, I’m going to turn to a number of other single malts before this one.  I’m not in any way turned off of Bruichladdich, and I’m curious about their peated offerings, I’m just not going to extend myself to get a bottle.

Other opinions (and distillery info)

I wasn’t able to find a whole lot of information on this first edition of the 15 year.  A number of the reviews I found were for the second edition. Here are a couple of links, though:

  • Whisky Magazine – Notes and ratings by Michael Jackson and Dave Broom.  There are also links to some forum threads on this expression further down the page.
  • Royal Mile Whiskies – Not for sale anymore, but there are some tasting notes.
  • Bruichladdich Product Sheet (PDF) – A link to the company product sheet for Bruichladdich 15.

Bruichladdich Distillery location

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