A masterclass from Bruichladdich, with the 8.2 edition of their superb, super smoky Octomore.
All .2 releases in the Octomore range are treated to a wine maturation of some description, but this version further emphasises the wine cask character. The whisky is matured initially (for six years) in three different cask varieties: French Mourvedre, Sauternes and Austrian sweet wines. The Mourvedre is known for its full-bodied earthiness and intense fruitiness, whilst Sauternes is one of the most highly esteemed dessert wines in the world. The Austrian sweet wines possess a luscious mouthfeel and bright fruitiness.
After this first maturation, the whisky is finished for two years in Amarone casks, for an extra boost of spicy red wine fruits.
The whisky is peated to a level of 167ppm, which is actually quite tame compared to some Octomores, but nevertheless, by normal standards, this is a super-peaty dram.
The final result is stunning. Initial waves of thick, floral peat smoke greet the drinker, followed by flowing flavours of dried cranberries, raspberries, strawberry jam, toffee, vanilla, dark oak, sweet grapes, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and wine tannins. A charred oak note compliments the peat nicely, whilst a little typical Islay character creeps in towards the end, notes of sea spray, lemon peel and earth.
Bottled at 58.4% ABV, and without chill filtration or artificial colouration (as always with Bruichladdich), this is an intense and delicious whisky.
One of the finest Octomores yet.
I purchased a sample of this having feared the Octomore releases as they were to be heaviest in Peat. Fear gave way to courage, this is simply the most endearing dram I have ever had. A nose of delicious dessert with a smokey apple and cherry cobbler and a sweet mint, gives way to a complex and delicious palate. The body is rich and elaborate offering mixed fruits and subtle oak. The Peat doesn't really hit until the back end which makes this dram wonderfully misrepresented. With a rewarding finish that lingers and is utterly satisfying. Simply put, there was no need to fear this dram. The peat doesn't overpower like you might think 167ppm would. It isn't the monster in your face, instead, it merely lingers in the background, you are aware of its presence, but it doesn't scare you.
A fantastic whisky, hard to beat in my opinion. One of the best ever and my favorite Octomore.