Octomore trio explores peat levels

by Georgie Collins

Bruichladdich Distillery has unveiled Octomore 14, the latest annual edition of its super-heavily peated range.

The Octomore 14 series features a trio of experimental single malts – 14.1, 14.2 and 14.3 – each of which is said to push the boundaries of whisky making in pursuit of ‘exceptional flavour’. First released in 2008, Octomore single malts are matured for five years, bottled ‘close to cask strength’, and always super-heavily peated. Octomore head distiller, Adam Hannett, said: “Everything we do at Bruichladdich Distillery is about exploring the fundamentals of whisky making – considering how and where our raw ingredient is grown, understanding the influence of terroir and experimenting with a variety of casks. “These fundamentals are inherent to each Octomore series, and the latest collection is no different. Each of the 14s has its own distinct character while staying true to the Octomore DNA, and this series showcases what can be achieved when we consider every element which contributes to the depth, balance and complexity of each drop of whisky.” In this 14th annual release, Octomore 14.1 is described as ‘the backbone of the series’, and is said to offer a necessary comparison from which the other expressions alternate. Distilled from 100% Scottish barley and malted to 128.9 PPM (phenol parts per million), the single malt has spent its maturation life in first-fill ex-American whiskey casks. The 59.6% ABV expression offers aromas of vanilla and sweet caramel, with hints of citrus cutting through Octomore’s signature peat smoke, and is priced at RRP £140 (US$176). Like 14.1, Octomore 14.2 is also distilled from 100% Scottish barley and malted to the same 128.9 PPM. However, 14.2 has been matured in a combination of oloroso Sherry and amarone wine casks. Octomore’s inimitable peat smoke is said to pair 'notoriously well’ with Sherry, with the influence of the oloroso casks adding a robust, savoury flavour to the final spirit. The result is a complex 57.7% ABV single malt with notes of red currants, rich fruit cake and roasted coffee, wrapped in smouldering peat smoke. It retails for RRP £155 (US195). Completing the collection, Octomore 14.3 demonstrates Bruichladdich’s consideration of terroir in its whisky making, having been distilled using only locally grown barley to explore the influence it has on the final flavour. It has been matured in a combination of Bourbon casks and second-fill wine casks, and malted to a ‘heavy weight’ 214.2 PPM. Priced at RRP £195 (US$245), this 61.4% ABV expression delivers aromas of hot, sweet mash, with the barley-forward single malt complemented with notes of sweet vanilla, toffee and delicate earthy smoke. The complete Octomore 14 series is available online at bruichladdich.com and in specialist whisky retailers. Octomore unveiled 'the world's most heavily peated' whisky in 2017, clocking in at 309 PPM.

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