Octomore 08 Masterclass (8.1, 8.2, 8.3) & OBA
It’s that time of year when a good peated whisky can really hit the spot… and there’s nothing better than a dram of Octomore for that!
Below I review Octomore 8.1, 8.2 and 8.3, and as a bonus Octomore OBA as well!
Let’s get going…
Info: 8yo. 59.3% abv. PPM 167. Distilled in 2009 using Scottish barley from the 2008 harvest. No colouring or chill-filtration.
Colour: Golden straw.
Nose: Strong sea breeze and ozone followed by honeyed smoke. It’s clean unadulterated Octomore, with a touch of subtle age.
Palate: Heavy and oily, strong and a little spicy. Yet it’s also light and sweet; almost honey-like with some green fruits all served on a bed of warm glowing coles.
Finish: Light, bright and summery, yet it simmers with coal smoke. It’s long, slightly peppery, warming and enticing.
Thoughts: It’s awesome, Octomore at it’s powerful best.
Available: Master of Malt – £109
Info: 8yo. 58.4% abv. PPM 167. Global Travel Retail Exclusive. First 6 years in one of either French Mourvedre, Austrian sweet wines or French Sauternes, then all 3 further matured for 2 years in fresh Amarone casks.
Colour: Dark and rusty with red and pink tints.
Nose: Rich fruity and buttery notes with a smoky fire.
Palate: Sweet, smooth, rich and oily. There’s plenty of smoke there, but it’s nicely balanced with rich fruity notes which shine.
Finish: Almost fizzy, the long rich sweet and oily finish goes on and on giving your chest a nice long hug with barley and red autumn fruits lasting out for ages. Water works fine.
Thoughts: The mix of casks at first sounds like it might be too much, but that’s definitely not the case, the combination works fantastically well for me, giving the strong Octomore spirit a fabulous balance and sweetness which completely work. This is possibly the first time I’ve ever really found a Duty Free exclusive that really is worth the trouble to track down and grab. If you find a bottle on your travels then buy it!
Available: WorldDutyFree – £130
Info: 5yo. 61.2% abv. PPM 309. Made from barley grown in a single field on Islay, and peated to the highest level that the maltings has yet produced.
Colour: Full golden straw.
Nose: Buttery with a rich smokiness. That said, is there a level of peating that doesn’t get detected once it’s passed? Because this doesn’t seem twice as smoky as the drams above.
Palate: Super smooth and buttery with a nice sweetness from the super smoked barley.
Finish: The finish seems to show the smoke a little more, with a smokey bacon flavour lasting on your palate for a long time after. The finish is very long, just as you’d hope.
Thoughts: As mentioned above, it’s hard to identify this as twice as peated as the drams above, that said, the finish really is quite a smokey thing indeed, it’s almost a tangible flavour on the finish, rather than just a smokey puff that you might get with other peaty drams. The slightly younger nature possibly helps to keep the sweet syrupy side there, and I love that, the syrupy sweetness which gives way to burning coals is fabulous.
Available: The Whisky Exchange – £165
Info: Octomore Black Art. We know very little about this; it’s Adam Hannett’s secret concoction. 3000 x 500ml bottles, 59.7% abv. No colouring or chill-filtration, as always!
Colour: Dark rich golden rusty and red.
Nose: Pungent, rich, fruity, smoky and sweet.
Palate: Super oily, sweet and velvety. It holds easily on the tongue with the sweet autumn fruit flavours pouring out, all backed up by lovely puffs of warm peat smoke.
Finish: Oily, chocolatey, rich, powerful, relaxed, very long.
Thoughts: This is a fantastic, lazy and relaxed Octomore, full of fruity flavours mingled amazingly with the trademark Octomore smoke. I’m totally in love with this dram, which was a surprise to me, because up until now I’ve not been the biggest fan of the Black Art series… but in this case it works perfectly with the beefy Octomore to tame it into something amazing. I could polish off a bottle of this double quick!
Available: Sold Out. Auction sites only I suspect.
Overall Thoughts: It’s hard to pick a favourite, but if I were forced to then I would always chose the OBA first, even though Black Art isn’t usually my favorite expression from Bruichladdich. The 8.2 is a great second – and not too far off the OBA – followed by the 8.3 and 8.1 All the drams are fantastic however, so if you fancy trying super peated Octomore then you won’t be disappointed with any of them.
Thanks to Bruichladdich for the 8.1. to 8.3 samples. The OBA was my own.