A laureate among Scotland‘s finest whiskies, Octomore is the Bruichladdich distillery’s cult classic. Hailing from Islay‘s salty shores, just the mention of its name brings to mind an impression of heavily-peated single malts and crisp maritime air.
Now in its tenth release, the brand ventures forward into the realms of softer smoke by exploring the complexities of the grain itself, while destabilising the focus on hard numbers in PPM (Parts per Million). An openness for the unexpected makes this series its most compelling yet – and we’re all for it.
In this new release, there are four parts, and 10.1 (59.8%, RRP S$279.99 for 700ml) is the benchmark. Five years of aging in ex-American oak produces a pale golden gem in a dram with strong, oily character and warm, peppery flavour. It encapsulates the structure and presence of a typical Octomore spirit. While the 10.2 (56.9%, Global Travel Retail Exclusive) builds on a similar structure of the 10.1 with ageing the first fill in ex-American oak casks (which brings out its woodier qualities), having a third fill in ex-Sauternes French oak lend a delicate, fruity quality to lighten up the spirit.
10.3 (61.3%, RRP S$394.99 for 700ml), like all the other .3’s before, explore the unique expression of Scottish barley from the Islay terroir. Being mere minutes away from the Atlantic, the barley that grows on Islay is regularly bathed in oceanic sea breezes. Matured for six aged years in ex-American oak, it’s a single field, single vintage, single malt that carries flavours of salt water taffy with a bitter dark chocolate finish.
Finally, we have the 10.4 (63.5%, RRP S$334.99 for 700ml), aged for a grand total of… three years. Truly, this Octomore challenges convention. It’s the youngest ever released, but deceptively complex, and could very well hold its own in any heavyweight line-up. The secret? Twenty-eight high toast virgin casks freshly cut from Limousin oak. The young wood in these casks often provide a strong tannic character, which, when softened by high toast, opens up to rounder flavours of dry fruit and mulled wine that finishes in an oak-forward manner, and begs the question: does older always mean better?