On Tuesday, Islay distillery Bruichladdich announced the 14th annual release of Octomore, its series of single malt scotch whiskies that Bruichladdich touts as “the world’s most heavily peated scotch whisky series.”
The trio of limited-edition whiskies are each aged five years.
“Everything we do at Bruichladdich Distillery is about exploring the fundamentals of whisky making – considering how and where our raw ingredient is grown, understanding the influence of terroir and experimenting with a variety of casks,” Bruichladdich Head Distiller Adam Hannett said in a news release. “These fundamentals are inherent to each Octomore series, and the latest collection is no different. Each of the 14s has its own distinct character while staying true to the Octomore DNA, and this series showcases what can be achieved when we consider every element which contributes to the depth, balance and complexity of each drop of whisky.”
In early 2024, Bruichladdich will complete the series by releasing Octomore 14.4, a distillery exclusive.
Described as the “backbone” of the series, 14.1 is malted to 128.9 ppm. Ppm stands for parts per million and is the measurement that describes the phenol content of malted barley in whisky; essentially, ppm tells you how heavily peated a whisky is.
Bottled at 59.6% ABV, Octomore 14.1 was aged in first-fill ex-American bourbon casks.
Color: Light amber
Nose: Smoked vanilla, sweet caramel and toffee notes open on the nose, with sooty smoke balanced with delicate coconut and flaked almonds. There is an unmistakable earthy smokiness and a hint of citrus, with lemon meringue pie cutting through rich, barbeque pork.
Taste: Bright citrus, smoke and a distinct minerality come through on the palate, followed by charred oak and beach bonfire embers. Toffee and creamy vanilla are balanced with the earthy smoke, with bright notes of pear, gooseberry fool and green apple simultaneously adding brightness and depth. Roasted coffee, hints of clove and nutmeg begin to come to the fore, with a gentle hint of heather honey.
Finish: Butterscotch and vanilla are balanced with Octomore’s signature earthy peat smoke and a hint of salt spray, with burnt heather and gorse flowers settling on the finish.
Aged in 44% second-fill Amarone casks, 40% first-fill Oloroso hogsgeads and 16% first-fill Amarone casks, Octomore 14.2 is bottled at 57.7% ABV and features the same 128.9 ppm mark as 14.1.
Color: Deep amber
Nose: Leather, prunes, red currents and malted barley come to the fore, followed by toasted oak and hints of cinnamon, green apple and black pepper. Waves of smoke and distinct red fruits follow, complemented with cereal notes of malt and porridge. The peat smoke is dry and brooding, with a hint of burnt heather and subtle pipe tobacco from the oak.
Taste: The influence of the European oak is unmissable, with a touch of dryness balanced with the vibrancy of wood spices, smoked oak and roasted coffee. Barbeque sweetness and a crack of black pepper is complemented with rich fruit cake and dried fruits. A drop of water opens the smoke and fruity sweetness from the wine casks, bringing a beautiful balance as notes of apple and pear grow with the dram.
Finish: Smoked malt, smouldering oak and sea salt settle on the finish, as Octomore’s signature earthy smoke lingers.
The peatiest of the bunch, Octomore 14.3 is peated to 214.2 ppm and aged in an even proportion of first-fill bourbon casks and second-fill wine casks. Not only is this the peatiest of the 14th Octomore release, it’s also the most powerful, bottled at 61.4% ABV.
Color: Pure gold
Nose: Transporting you to the Bruichladdich Distillery courtyard, the aromas of hot, sweet mash are unmistakable on the nose. This soft, biscuity malt is followed by peat smoke and an assortment of sweet, stoned fruits, with ripe apricots, peach and honey drizzled pears. Candied lemon peels add a hint of citrus, balanced with butterscotch, honeycomb, chocolate and vanilla ice cream.
Taste: Delicate oak notes immediately come through, followed by the presence of smouldering peat. Floral hints of gorse and honeysuckle rise above the malty Islay grown barley, which is rich and sweet with creamy porridge and cereal notes. The structure of the French oak together with the sweet vanilla and toffee of the American oak combine beautifully, bringing a harmonious balance to the palate.
Finish: Malted barley and earthy smoke dominate, followed by lingering notes of sweet barley sugar. Caramel and vanilla add a final touch of rounded sweetness.
For more information please visit https://www.bruichladdich.com/