Review 2017-012 «Specifics» Single malt • Bottled in 2015 • 58.5% Alcohol • Matured for 5 years in American oak and Rhône Syrah wine casks • Non-chill filtered • Natural coloured • Bruichladdich (owned by Rémy Cointreau) • Rhinns of Islay • Scotland • Limited availability (18,000 bottles) • Still available (price ranges from €100-200) • Whiskybase #63360
STORY. The peatiest of peat, the smokiest of smoke, this is an Octomore version from American oak and French wine casks. One for the peat-extremists that like to bath in peated sea water. Octomore is advertised as the world most heavily peated whisky, and with this release of 208ppm (to compare Lagavulin or Laphroaig comes at 40 ppm) it is indeed richly infused with phenols. Approximately twice a year, we see a new release coming out. This one is from 2015, and has been married from spirit matured in American oak casks and casks that previously contained wine made from Syrah grapes from the northern Rhône valley, where they are the most used grapes.
APPEARANCE. Hyper-modern and unusual design, colour of the contents is pale yellow and is natural coloured.
NOSE. At first the smoke is surprisingly subdued. It is fresh with a little bit of fruits, smoked oranges, and fresh rainwater. Furthermore, it is grassy, like meadows after the rain, earthy. (water) This brings more barley, burned wood and salty peat. In fact, a massive amount of salt are there, which stays predominant after further dilution. Then some smoke, salt, peat and earth. Some bourbon notes are in the background along with spices that I cannot really pin down. Wait wasn’t there some wine finishing involved? But no, I can’t find it.
TASTE. It is prickling, ashy, salty, with wet stones, salty wet stones, or more, seaside salty wets stones. (water) There is more smoke and more peat. Totally salty, are they sure they didn’t want to go for the highest salt contents in stead of peat? Added to the salt, some herbs (rosemary). It is clean and hints towards artisan mezcal. The peat resembles Lagavulin (with a bag of salt). Again, the wine casks remain quite mysteriously absent.
VERDICT. You may not be surprised, it is smoky and salty with some earth. I find it quite singular. A typical you-may-like-it-or-hate-it-dram. For me it is a bit too extreme. Perhaps more active wine casks could have helped.
Recommended for total extreme peat heads.
Thanks to Mike for the sample!
What others say
- @Whiskybase: Mean score of 87.26 (249 votes)
- @Somersetwhisky.com: “Is this my favourite Octomore yet? Very possibly I think, yes!”
- @Whiskygospel.com: “Oh mama, this is one serious Octomore”
- @Whiskyisrael.co.il: “IMHO the Syrah and peat work well together, and I’m also loving the very medicinal nose that blends well with the strawberries and Crème Catalan” 89/100
- Serge @Whiskyfun.com: “Not a classic at all, but there’s much fun to be had” Score: 85/100