I was invited by Remy Cointreau to participate in the 6th edition of the Micro-Provenance tasting. I was so honored! I am a big fan of Bruichladdich and their distillery. I think it would be safe to say that Remy has been a positive influence on the distillery and brand which means I am also optimistic about the their recent purchase of Westland distillery. If you haven’t tried the Westland line of Single Malts, you must! The sherry cask and peated are really blazing the trail for American Single Malts. Although I find it hard to believe I am comparing these single cask Octomore’s to the new category of American Single Malts right now, I think it adds value to the Remy story. To say I was impressed by these three Octomore samples is an understatement. In all honesty I have always had positive things to say about Octomore, but I have always spoken about it as a “special occasion” or “to have an experience” brand. Also known as not your everyday sipping whisky. This tasting would change my mind. The malleability of the new make spirit is easily seen when trying all three unique cask maturation processes. They are bold, powerful drams and I can’t wait to share them with you!
Apparently the last five LADDIEMP talks have been run by master distiller Adam Hannett. He fell ill and we were hosted by brand ambassador Joanne Brown and her Uncle James Brown who actually runs the Octomore farm on Islay. Although it would have been great to hear Adam speak since I didn’t get to meet him during my visit to Bruichalddich, Joanne was lovely and had quite a few excellent "off the cuff jokes". From what I understand they started this LADDIEMP interactive broadcast to help gather their largest supporters and followers to take part in a review of rare single cask releases. I think it’s a great idea. Not only are all of the attendees blogging and posting their reviews on social media, but also sample sharing. I know my bottles will be rationed to go out to a few well deserving whisky lovers.
Facts to know about Octomore Single Malt Whisky:
- Distilled at Bruichladdich Distillery
- Located on Islay, Scotland
- Must be made from malted barley that is brought to at least 80PPM
- If labeled “Scottish” barley, the barley came from somewhere in Scotland
- If labeled “Islay” barley, the barley came from somewhere on Islay
- They only ever plan to use specifically Scottish or Islay barley when producing Octomore
- They plan to eventually have maltings on site to have the following—Octomore Farm grown barley along with malting on site, milling, mashing, fermentation, distillation and aging
- All Bruichladdich product lines including Octomore, are never chill-filtered or have color added
1. Cask #4819 - “Fresh Bourbon”
Bottled 2017- 6 Years Old
Warehouse 14. 13H
Aged completely in fresh/first fill ex-bourbon barrels (aka Fresh Bourbon)
Nose: Sugar, vanilla frosting, soft fruits, light butterscotch, some burnt toast. Delicious creaminess.
Palate: Peat hits quick, malty, crispy hay finish lingers alongside the peat. Some creaminess in the middle, but then a dry, tart apple finish.
2. Cask #4468 - "Rivesaltes"
Bottled in 2017- 6 Years Old
Warehouse P2 L12
Aged in 2nd fill Rivesaltes Red Wine Casks
Nose: Berries and syrupy marmalade with some raisins and nuts. Slight oak.
Palate: Creamier berries, spicy oak, smoke comes in the back palate with a milk chocolate and cough syrup like situation. Tart and oily on the finish.
3. Cask #0022 - "Ribera Del Duero / Bourbon"
Bottled 2017- 13 Years Old
Warehouse 12. B12
This sprit has had an interesting maturation process..
Aged 5 years in American oak followed by Petrus Wine as finishing casks (Octomore 2.2 was this release). From here it was then split in half and finished in ex-bourbon and Ribera Del Duero wine casks to then be re-married and finished in ex-bourbon again. Creating layers of ex-bourbon and wine finishes.
Nose: Nutty, banana pudding, banana nut cereal walnuts and berries. Nose is incredible.
Palate: Kettle corn popcorn, toffee, some citrus and plums with the peat. A bit of a meat loaf kind of finish. Or maybe that’s chocolate….
LADDIEMP7 will be held in September and I do hope to participate again. This not only reawakened my idea of what Octomore is and can be, but also helps me explain to people what is possible with this heavily peated spirit. Lately I have noticed people want extremes—cask strength, full sherry aged (aka sherry bombs), heavily peated etc. There is a lot to say for a spirit when you can have all of those things working cohesively in one cask. To be honest, I wouldn’t pick Octomore as one who could pull this off. I was definitely proven wrong by these wine finishing casks.
Did I mention my favorite yet? Call me old fashioned, but the "Fresh Bourbon" is exquisite. The peat plays nicely like a warm summer day right at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The peat and vanilla bounce around with each other. While everyone is interested in finishing casks and I love many of them too, but I am eager to get back to basics at the moment. Fresh Bourbon wins for me!