Octomore 11.3 70cl 61.7°
The latest version of Octomore 11.3 is a Single Malt distilled in 2014 from barley harvested in 2013. The distillery used a barley of the Concerto variety that originated 100% from Octomore's farm in Islay.
The comparative tasting between version 11.1 and 11.3 makes it possible to understand the importance of the origin of the barley on the aromatic profile which then emerges from the whisky.
This Single Malt is one of the most peaty in the world with 194 PPM*. It is a very limited edition with only 720 bottles distributed in France.
Bottled at the distillery with Islay spring water, it is unfiltered and there has been no addition of colour. It was aged for 5 years in first fill American whiskey barrels.
* PPM - parts per million - of phenolic compounds, measures the impact of oily smoke from peat that settles on germinated barley as it dries. The longer this time, the greater the value of ppm.
The peated whiskies of Islay are 30 to 45 ppm*. The first Octomore 1.1., released in 2007, is peated to 131ppm. And one of the last releases, the 6.3. is peated to 258ppm…
Jim McEwan from the Bruichladdich distillery recalls the philosophy by which the distillery crafted the Port Charlotte and Octomore whiskies: “When I asked Bairds, our Inverness malting house, to produce heavily peated barley, it was only curiosity. Just to see what would happen. I had in mind the taste of slow cold-smoked salmon, and I wanted to apply this to whisky. The barley took 5 days to dry… Then, I never asked to raise the peat level, this simply happened. Just like the waves on the sea, you do not always see the bigger ones rolling.”
A rare fact in Scotland, the Bruichladdich distillery uses an open mash tun. Its onion-shaped stills have a very flat base and a slender body. During distillation, alcohol vapours rise slowly, imparting finesse and elegance to the whisky.
With each release, Octomore has been developing even more depth and peated notes. Donald McKenzie, Octomore manager for the Dugas Company in France, deems that “Octomore is a technical whisky, a heavily peated, oily and powerful challenge but still extremely refined. It is a rare, excessive, exceptional whisky.”
The Octomore versions are classified by two numbers separated by a dot. The first number is the batch, the second one is an indication of the whisk maturation. 1 for 100% Bourbon casks, 2 for various cask types. 3 refers to the use of Islay barley.
*PPM - phenols parts per million, measuring the influence of the oily smoke peat infusing the germinated barley during the drying process. The longer the exposure, the highest the ppm value is. A well peated Islay whisky reaches a 40-50 ppm. But every whisky still develops its very own character and mouthfeel sensation, depending on the style of each distillery.