Octomore / Islay Barley 9.3.

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Octomore / Islay Barley 9.3.

COUNTRY/REGION: Scotland/Islay.

CATEGORY: Single malt.

DISTILLERY: Bruichladdich.

BOTTLER: Distillery Bottling.




STRENGTH: 62.9% Vol.

Just 52 tonnes of precious Islay barley were malted to produce this single farm Octomore 09.3 edition. Raised in Irene’s Field on Octomore Farm in 2011, this uber-provenance single malt was later distilled and filled into 134 casks. Predominantly second-fill, the gentler influence of the wood allows more of the locally grown barley flavours to cut through the legendary peat smoke.

Octomore has an undeniable ability to stimulate debate in single malt circles. Defiantly challenging the established preconceptions of what constitutes a quality whisky, the series itself polarises opinion.

Bold and brazen at 5 years old. Super heavily peated. Cask strength. It is the impossible equation. It should not work. Only upon tasting it will you understand its true potential.

Since 2008, we have welcomed this conversation to our doorstep and exposed ourselves to criticism in the hope that we will unlock new realms of flavour. We’ve questioned the elements that contribute towards the depth and balance of each youthful drop.

In celebration of this work, four new editions marked with the tell-tale διάλογος will be released over 6 months, each a sensorial exploration of knowledge gained.

It has long been part of our inherent values to allow nature to play its rightful role in our whisky. Since the early days of resurrection, our distillery has driven forward one idea, to reconnect the land, its raw materials and the people who gave them life.
Deliberately taming the cask influence in this release of Octomore Islay Barley, we are allowed to taste the effect of difficult growing conditions. While little desk research has gone into understanding the flavour profile of a ‘stressed’ barley, it is widely accepted in the wine world that the timing and level of stress placed on grapes will produce a lower yield but a more flavourful fruit. Could this be applicable to whisky too?

Hannett describes the symbiosis between nature, grain and cask; “This is the closest we will come to tasting the effects of a low yielding barley that was grown in difficult conditions, from one single field. The individual conditions that come together to create each vintage may never by the same. Part intuition, part natural conditions, the joy of working as we do allows fate to play a hand in the construction and evolution of each release. We express what nature has given us, rather than fighting against it to maintain a level of homogenisation. The lower PPM and the different styles of casks allow the grain to take its rightful place at the centre-point of this release.”

COLOUR: Rusty/Sepia.

AROMA: Malted barley, Horlicks, the smell of the mash going into the mashtun. Heather wildfire, black tea, golden syrup, lemon sponge.

TASTE: Golden syrup in the tin, smoked tea, wort, malted barley, pear, peach melba. Sea spray, heather flowers.

FINISH: Smoke, toasted oak, rye bread, salt, ozone.

CHARACTER: Wild, Ileach, if this whisky could speak it would only speak in Gaelic. Atlantic coast raised. Out on the edge, the sense of place is strong.