Octomore 8.1

Octomore Masterclass_08.1/167ppm (59.3%, OB, 2017)

  • Category: Islay single malt scotch whisky
  • Origin: Bruichladdich Distillery
  • Bottling: Bruichladdich, Octomore
  • ABV: 59.3%
  • Cost: £100


What they say

Led by the structural brilliance of 08.1, we can pause at this symbolic moment to enjoy a single malt masterclass. The experimental ethos, the muscular quality, is still very much to the fore, but there is enlightenment now, a sure-footed confidence. 08.1 is the necessary benchmark, the launch pad from which others can only follow. 08.1 reveals the astonishing subtlety of our phenolic universe, leading us along a pathway into a world like no other.
The Octomore 08.1 edition is:

  • 167 ppm
  • Distilled in 2008 using 100% Scottish barley, from 2007 harvest
  • 100% matured in first fill american oak casks, including Buffalo Trace, Clermont Springs, Four Roses, Heaven Hill & Jack Daniels
  • 42,000 btls only
  • 59.3% ABV

Official tasting notes:

  • Colour: Winter sun, crisp and bright
  • Character: Refined, confident, a little extra age has tempered some of the vitality but this dram has gained a classic, timeless feel.
  • Aroma: Initially smoke, tar, peat ash hint of muddiness/wet peat moss. Candied orange, pepper, chocolate, macaroon, vanilla fudge and lemon meringue pie.
  • Taste: Liquid gold, soft and delicate texture from slow distillation. Superb fruit/smoke combination. On the lips there is soft kiss of salt spray, ozone fresh. Sweet oak gives vanilla, fudge, marzipan and walnut. Melon and citrus come through on a floral breeze. Many layered there is a lot find in this Octomore.
  • Finish: Wow! Smoothness, sweetness and then smoke. A texture like no other, satin soft and devilishly warming. The American oak influence is in perfect tune with the smoke and soft fruits delicately, skilfully coaxed from the still during exceptionally slow distillation. Vanilla, honey, citrus rise up to be met with sea spray and leather, smoked mussels mix with autumn bracken and crème brûlée.

What I say

Octomore 08.1 the masterclass, peated barley at 167ppm (as 06.1 previously sampled here).

Distilled in 2008 from 2007 barley and matured for 8 years in 1st fill American oak ex-bourbon casks.

My tasting notes:

  • Appearance: Sauternes wine gold (7/20), slow-forming fine beads give rise to occasional long fine legs
  • Nose: Quiet powerful on the nose, on pouring I had a sweet vanilla aroma but first nosing I dove in to deeply and got hit by the peat and spirit burn, there is a tarry note like road tar or bitumen, not unpleasant, a rich wood smoke, quite fragrant but too sweet to be peat, feels like putting your face too close to the bonfire, there is an odd sweetness like candied peel or jelly fruits sweets, oranges and lemons and a little orange barley sugar, lemon drizzle icing and key lime pie but most of all a thick sweet vanilla custard
  • Taste: Powerful, thick and full-bodied & chewy, vanilla ice cream and fudge with burning sticks in it, a sprinkle of smoked sea salt, and a hint of scallops and sweeter shellfish meats add to the maritime notes, cocoa butter and carnauba (and also surfboard) wax, walnut and chestnut woods, some honey, toffee and golden syrup sweetness and perhaps a brief dash of lemon and lime juice but nothing sticks, liqourice root and a hint of aniseed balls but by now I’m wondering of the peat and wax have coated my tongue and over-powered my palate, this is really thick delicious stuff but hard to name specific flavours in here.
  • Finish: Long, tar/asphalt, like someone has just laid an asphalt driveway over my tongue, sweet, lemon zest and honey and shellfish notes continue, a little smouldering wood


I find each of the Octomore series like a meal in a dram, whilst others have provided me the full fried breakfast on top of porridge oats this one is much more like BBQ lobster and scallops with dashes of lemon and lime juice thrown over the flames and coals as it cooks.

Much more refined and a little less challenging than previous Octomores (from memory!). There is a good sweetness that helps roll that tar, wax and smoke out all over your mouth.

Score 88/100

Shop for Octomore whisky (opens Master of Malt)

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Categories: Islay, Octomore

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