Now it’s time to look at the most heavily peated Whisky on the planet. Thankfully Ewald Stromer from Bruichladdich Distillery provided me with samples of the 8.1 and 8.3 at the Finest Spirits Festival. I’d have to consult my notes to be 100% sure, but I think back in 2015 I was told, that Bruichladdich was able to peat their barley to over 300ppm. Well, the 8.3 just has that kind of peat, to be exactly 309ppm. How much of this peat goes into the spirit is of course unknown, as it is measured in the barley itself.
Octomore Masterclass Ed. 8.1 – 167ppm
Age: 8 yo
Cask: 1st fill american oak casks
Nose: Peaty, but gentle and velvet, some bacon and bread, also Toffee, some vanilla, some kind of citric fruits maybe orange.
Palate: Toffee, very sweet and intense, just some peat, also bread, salt and some nutty flavour.
Finish: Long and very warming. Nice!
Overall: Well, it’s an Octomore, it’s nice and peaty. But to be honest, I had more peat in terms of flavour. If you’re behind that “peat-kick” you are wrong here. It won’t kick you in the nuts, just gently stroke them.
My rating: 20/21/21/22 = 84 out of 100.
Octomore Masterclass Ed. 8.3 – 309ppm
Age: 5 yo
Cask: exBourbon and European oak
Nose: Yes, there is peat but nicely blended with the sweetness from Toffee. Some tropical fruits and some leather emerge.
Palate: Ash, dry but still ash (not the wet one from Laphroaig!), also Toffee, some leather and some fruits. Quite velvet but also spicy.
Finish: Long, indeed and warming!
Overall: The kick in the nuts won’t happen here either. Maybe a little, more a patting. But the flavours are combined here very well and they suit each other quite fabulous. Another thing that struck(!) me was, this Whisky is just five (5) years old! The colour is probably mainly from the European oak casks (Burgundy, etc.) but there is also no – absolutely no – flavour (you know, this spirit-glue kind aroma) which might indicate this young age!
My rating: 21/22/22/22 = 87 out of 100.
In the end, I’d like to point out, that the price tag (if you still can get them) is around 200€, which is quite a lot. But not every Whisky was made for everyone, as already Martin Markvardsen from Highland Park pointed out in the interview I had with him (you can read about it here). So if you like the Whisky (I do) and you want to spend the money (I’m not sure), then do it! If not, go on and find another Whisky where you want to!