The Bruichladdich Octomore single malts have defied conventional wisdom since they were first distilled in 2002.
Distilled in 2013 from the 2012 harvest, the Octomore 10.3 has been brought home by farmer James Brown. Taking on the challenge of growing Islay Barley, he braces the conditions of the wet and wild Scottish hebrides to combine an exploration of Islay terroir and stratospheric smoke.
For the first time, the .3 is matured for six aged years but crucially only in ex-American oak. These top-quality Quercus Alba casks have gently coaxed this Octomore spirit into life in Warehouse 16, next to the 10.1 edition. Having housed the Scottish and Islay barley in the same conditions, with a lower PPM, solely in American oak from Concerto barley, the flavour difference between them is attributed to the growing conditions of the barley’s respective locale.
Tasting notes from the team at Bruichladdich:
Character: Marine freshness, Islay air, and a deep-rooted level of fruitiness from the distillation characterise this release.
Aroma: Earthy peat smoke, dry and a little medicinal, lemon drops, and thyme come through and then marine, seashell notes along with some vanilla and fudge from the oak.
Taste: Salt on the lips and more honey and lemon on the palate, then the peat sweeps in with the oak and heat from the high strength. Deeper flavours from the spirit, pear, and gooseberry are more defined and richer.
Finish: Sweet on the finish initially with pastry and chocolate but then bitter notes of rubbery smoke and spice towards the end.
61.3% ABV, 700mL