Octomore 8.3

Octomore Masterclass_08.3/309PPM (61.2%, OB, 2017)

  • ABV: 61.2%
  • Age: 5 Years Old
  • Bottling: OB
  • Category: Islay single malt scotch whisky
  • Cost: £165
  • Origin: Bruichladdich distillery
  • Vintage: undeclared


What they say

309PPM Aged 5 Years Islay Barley

Initiation and provocation is followed by challenge. Growing barley on Islay is always difficult and yields are low. The autumn of 2010 was wet and windy. A late harvest saw Octomore farmer James Brown facing heavy losses from greylag geese and herds of wild red deer, resulting in a precious little yield. Malting the this Octomore grain produced results that were unprecedented, the readings came back at 309.1ppm. Following a carefully controlled trickle distillation, Octomore 08.3 was matured in 56% first fill Bourbon casks, the remaining in ex-Paulliac, Ventoux, Rhone and Burgundy casks.

Official tasting notes:

  • CHARACTER – This is the ultimate Islay Octomore. A thunderstorm of a dram. Close your eyes as you take the first sip and allow your senses to shut down as you focus on processing this fascinating dram.
  • AROMA – Toasted oak and muddy/peaty smoke, bandages. Maple syrup, fresh linen, sea shells. Evokes a memory of lying in the heather on the peat moss, the warm sun coaxing the scent from the wild flowers. The fruit is cherry, peach and mango, with creme brulee and toffee from the oak and barley.
  • TASTE – Initially a surprise as the stellar level of peat is bitter and over-whelming. Another sip opens with up with cherry and peach and toasted sweet oak, dark chocolate, boot polish and seaweed. At this level the peat is like a thundercloud, darkening the atmosphere. You can feel it in your bones.
  • FINISH – Complex, creme brulee with caramelised brown sugar slightly overdone. Dark plum, orange and kiwi sit well with the malted barley sweetness. The peat smoke is a tremendous presence offering roasted coffee, burnt heather and a place in your memory forever.
  • COLOUR – Golden syrup.

What I say

The final Octomore 8 series 3 has been distilled from Islay barley grown/harvested 2010 and peated to a phenomenal 309PPM before maturing for 5 years in a mixture of ex-Bourbon and wine casks.

My tasting notes:

  • Appearance: Bright gold (8/20), Fine, slow tears and medium legs.
  • Nose: A mixture of sweet and peat, but cloying sweet, masses of vanilla and hints of linseed oil/putty, honey, golden syrup, maple-smoked bacon, some dry and dusty ash, pastries dusted with icing sugar and some fruits; apple, mango, pineapple, then salty, leathery, briny, shellfish and ozone.
  • Taste: Sweet and rich tar-like peat influence, quite thick on the palate, fruits such as apple and mango and some of that syrup or honey from the nose, woody oak, malt, chocolate and coffee beans with a big peppery edge can be a little bitter as the peat attacks the palate, softens into salt caramel, treacle toffee, camp coffee/chicory and other woody spices, clove, and tobacco leaf.
  • Finish: Long, slightly ashen but still sweet with more honey, coconut cream, woody and dried herbs and wood shavings/chips with plenty of char.


A mixture of sweet and bitter make for quite a complex dram permanently backed by peat influences but never overpowered by it. Lots of delicious woody herbal influence and a little earthen too in places, there is soft and tropical fruits and coconut in here also.

Score 88/100

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Categories: Islay, Octomore

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