Octomore Masterclass_08.3 Islay Barley, 5 YO, 61.2 %

Octomore Masterclass_08.3 Islay BarleyA few days back I reviewed the Octomore Masterclass_08.1. I tasted that Octomore side by side with the Octomore Masterclass_08.3 Islay Barley, and here are the results.

If you thought Octomore, the über-peaty expression from Bruichladdich, was a peat fest as it was, they have now taken the peatiness to ridiculous levels. The “normal” peat level for Octomore the last few years have been 167 ppm. This time around they have turned it all the way up to 309 ppm!

The official stats on the Octomore Masterclass_08.3 Islay Barley can be found here, but these are the highlights:

  • The most heavily-peated Octomore to date – at 309 ppm!
  • One farm, one field, one vintage
  • Distilled in 2011 from 2010 harvest
  • 56% full-term ex-Bourbon, 44% full-term European oak maturation
  • 18 000 bottles

The European oak casks previously held Paulliac, Ventoux, Rhone and Burgundy wines.

The Octomore Masterclass_08.3 Islay Barley appears to be sold out already.

Nose: There is a wall of peat here. A wall with a door. A door with a sign. A sign with a message. A message reading “Here be phenols! Approach with caution!”. A lot spicier than the 8.1. More “life” if you will, een if it is hard to imagine anything living in such .. ehm .. hostile conditions. Let’s crawl a little closer to the door.

Taste: Raaaaw .. aaarrrgghh! *cough* Ehrm .. there’s peat and a certain level of smokiness on the palate as well. I seem to have lost my tongue, so it is a good thing this is a blog and not a vlog. A swimming pool filled with habanero sauce, a huge bean bag full of Szechuan peppers, a ten storey chimney filled with ashes, and a burnt down fruit orchard.

Finish: Medium long finish. Again, as with the 8.1, it turns soo delightful, fruity, sweet and soft once the initial shock has abated. Fun how the Szechuan pepper stays all the way to the end. Hot, hot embers of pepper and orchard fruits. There is hardly any bitterness here though. A touch of bitter-ish oak, and there you have it. Sorted!

Comments: Octomore, I love you, but please stay away .. for a little while ..

Score (88/100)

This is the 15th Octomore I review. You can see the whole lot here.

Image from Master of Malt.

Sláinte!
– Thomas

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