Octomore 06.1/167ppm Scottish Barley

57% ABV, £90 for 70cl

Score: 90/100

Octomore06-1

What they say:

The world’s most heavily peated whisky, this is the sixth edition of the uber-experimental cult Octomore.

Titanic amounts of peat but with a light, delicate complexity and a beguiling finesse. Young, yet eminently mature, it defies us. It remains an enigma. We embrace that.

Here, we pay tribute to its pedigree, to the land from which it came and the raw materials that gave it life: Octomore Scottish Barley.

We believe challenging convention matters.

Character
Magnificently muscular. Most heavily peated malts are so dry and phenolic there is little else to spark the senses, not so this young warrior who arouses pride and passion, transporting you to that most famous rock in the Atlantic ocean – Islay – the beating heart of the Hebrides.

Colour
Autumn sunshine/ citrine

Nose
The first waves bring a combination of sea spray, spindrift, wet sea weed and hints of oily iodine. Then peat smoke with cracked black peppercorn and as the spirit reveals itself, stunning notes of heather flowers, lemon balm and water mint. Its like watching a spiritual weaver create a tapestry from the Hebrides itself.

Palate
As the spirit breathes in the glass a subtle change takes place. Rising steadily comes the crisp, malted barley then the sweet oak, giving notes of vanilla, toasted rye bread and walnuts. Add a burst of fresh lime, poached apple and pear from distillation whilst always in the background the steady rhythm of the sea painting pictures in your mind of a people and place who know that single malt is the stuff of life, sustaining them for generations.

Finish
The senses will celebrate this genial, warm, thrilling experience long after the glass is empty. You will know that you have been on a journey by the warmth in your heart and the spirit in your soul.

Mood
Welcome to the world of Progressive Hebridean Distillers.

What I say:

Our 3rd dram in the Bruichladdich distillery tasting room was a move out of the light and into the darkness, from the sweet heady delights of the Cuvee 382 we headed into the depths of peat in the Octomore 6th edition (06.1). Only 5 years old but made from barley peated to 167 phenol ppm, the extreme of hebridean peaty whisky…

Colour:

Light gold, medium/long tears

Nose:

Deep smoke, fireworks, charred ash, bonfires, sweet vanilla, coconut, chewy treacle toffee and some meaty savoury aromas

Taste:

Gentle, full bodied malt / marmite and Umami, meaty bbq or honey roast smoked meats,  smoked fish (kippers & salmon?), gentle salty brine, heather flowers, tarragon, dill, tar/cresosote, delicately spiced and sweet, undercurrents of malty barley and golden syrup flapjacks

Finish:

Long, peat embers, honey roast meats with roasted bouquet garni

Overall:

Another breakfast of a dram from Bruichladdich’s Octomore stable, this is so meaty and chewy and somehow packs in so much peat it becomes tangible within the glass. Amazingly this is not harsh but wave after gentle wave of peat surging over your palate that sparks floral, then herbal then malty aftertastes that make you want to chew and chew and chew this one over and over.