Distillery: Octomore (Bruichladdich)
Bottled: 2014, Distilled: 2008
Age: 6 years old
Bottler: Rest And Be Thankful
Cask: French Oak (Rivesaltes Wine Cask)
More Info: WhiskyBase
Oh, hello, Octomore. You smooth, sweet, delicately-caged tiger of a whisky.
For the uninitiated – Octomore is the super-heavily peated line of whiskies produced by Bruichladdich. They tend to have a complex character, with a lot of really interesting flavours coming out in spite of the very high ABV and PPPM.
It’s weird, but I find the Port Charlotte releases more in-your-face-peat-smoky than the Octomore – with a typical phenol level of between 160 and 260, this is a big surprise (PC is nearer 40, about the same as Ardbeg).
I’ve had the pleasure of several official bottlings, last year’s Feis Ile bottling, and even a generous measure of a Château d’Yquem matured 10-year-old at the distillery warehouse*.
This stuff is always an adventure to taste, so an independent bottling is very exciting news indeed. Aged six years entirely in a Rivesaltes French wine cask. I don’t know much about Rivesaltes as a wine, but I understand it’s aged for a long time so I’m hoping for some dry, tart, rich character to come through to the whisky.
Let’s dive in…
Nose: Salted butter, Hollandaise sauce, cured meats, icing sugar, wax, damp dusty wood, fresh leather, sherbet, pear skin, refreshers and fragrant resin.
Palate: Sweet and oily with pine resin, basil and honeydew melon. It develops into formidably drying earthy peat smoke, alongside toasted oak, sea salt, lime juice, ginger and vanilla cream.
Finish: The sweetness dies down to leave salty and savoury cheese crackers, with earthy peat. After a few minutes, it feels like you could pick it out of your teeth!
Wow! Like being at an old wooden amusement park at night, eating eggs-Benedict, while the children enjoy sweet candy floss and salty popcorn. Honestly, it’s like a three-course-meal of a dram. Loads of unusual savoury notes amidst the expected peat smoke and sweet, buttery fruit notes.**
My gosh, I loved this. At £185 it’s more expensive than the standard Octomores (usually somewhere between £90 and £150 on the primary market), but that Rivesaltes cask really works for me and it takes the spirit in a new direction – I mean, how often do you nose a peaty whisky and get Hollandaise sauce??
Quoth the Rivesaltes, “Octomore!”.
Bottles and samples on Master of Malt are £185 and £13.57, respectively. Rest-And-Be-Thankful are a mystery to me as a bottler, and I can’t find any information about them. If anyone knows anything, do give me a shout on Twitter!
* Yes, it was sublime.
**I didn’t add water – this really doesn’t need it, at all.