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#581

FIRE AND FURY

27 Feb 2018 By

8 Things You Octo Know About The New Octomore Masterclass 8 Edition. (See What We Did There?)

Octomore, or “big eighth” is the world’s peatiest series of single malt whiskies, and over the years they have developed a cult following – count us in that sacred sect.

The progressive Hebridean distillery have usually eschewed age statements for bold statements, and the Octomore range is a response to other brand’s subtle and smooth approach. If you’re going to rebel, then let’s bring on the muscle and might.

At a special tasting conducted by brand ambassador Chloe Wood, we were privy to the latest Octomore Masterclass Edition (that’s what it’s named) releases, or the Eights, with four distinct expressions.

Here are eight things you oughta know.

Octomore Masterclass Eights

08.1 clocks in at 167ppm (phenol parts per million), and is 59.3% ABV. 100% matured in american first fill oak. It’s buttery and creamy, with a vegetal smokiness, like a cauliflower roasted on a bbq pit, with hints of barley and citrus. There are only 42,000 bottles of this, limited-edition like all Octomores – just the way the cabal likes it.

08.2 is also 167ppm (58.4% abv), and sweeter, a result of the spirit spending six years in second fill ex-Sauterne, French Mourverdes and Austrian sweet wine casks, and then vatted in first fill Amarone casks for two years. Undoubtedly it’s my favourite, with a smooth smoky rumble and an obvious lick of oakiness.

08.3 marches in at 309.1ppm (61.2% ABV), the most muscular of the lot, and the surprising part? It’s only a five year old whisky. The wood used is 56% first-fill Bourbon with the balance being made up of ex-Pauillac, Ventoux, Rhone and Burgundy casks. There is a hint of saltiness in this battalion of barley, and a crisp dark berry finish.

08.4 is 170ppm (58.7%), an 8 year old where 20% has been held full-term in virgin oak, and 80% was originally introduced to American oak, first-fill ex-Bourbon casks, before being transferred into second fill virgin oak from Tonnellerie Radoux cooperage in France that had previously held Octomore 07.4. You get notes of cloves and coffee. (French virgin oak casks cost £700 each, btw, which might explain why there’s only 12,000 bottles out there.)

05. This is head distiller Adam Hannett’s first complete set of Octomore. That’s right, the man owns this now.

Octomore Masterclass Eights

06. Every drop of spirit is matured entirely in Islay. 

07. Of the lot, 8.2 is available only at duty free (we don’t know why either). And with only 36,000 bottles produced, you’ll need some stewardess friends to pick up a few for you.

08. Octomore isn’t just peat for pete’s sake. Each expression is complex and considered, created to appeal to one’s senses, mouthfeel and palate. I love the experiments, and while they carry a big bat and swing for the fences, it’s not often a home run, but they’re scoring enough tries to make them captivating and crazy. And compelling enough to make you keep watching, and waiting. This series has one clearer winner, but it’s not a zero sum game – find a style you like, and everyone’s a winner.

The Octomore Masterclass 8 Edition will be released worldwide soon. (Yeah, soon).

Like this? Read About Our Road Trip to Bruichladdich in Islay

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