Thursday, June 25, 2015

Another Big Beast - Bruichladdich Octomore 7.1

Octomore 7.1 Image from Bruichladdich website
As word spreads this morning about the Bruichladdich​ Octomore 7.1 the questions are always raised about when is too much peat too much?

I love the Octomore range with its sweet ashy textures. I was not overly impressed though with the super heavy peated Octomore 6.3 at 258PPM finding it has finally started to simply lack balance, that is when tasted against the Octomore 6.1. Now the 7.1 is being released at 59.9% ABV with a 208PPM. Granted each batch is different so we are not going to know what this is like until we try it, but I have started to have some reservations about what I am really buying. Octomore in some ways has become a try before you buy product so I will be looking forward to a tasting I am sure is to come in the near future.

I hope one day we see a return to the early days of Octomore 1.1 where some real balance was in tune and reservations were considered even though Jim McEwan had said even back then he thought it had more to give. To paraphrase Jim when I first spoke with him, my old notes say he had mentioned that as the barley is peated the finer qualities shut down and the sugars are lost. In turn it means it is harder to created wash as the required enzyme reactions cannot take hold during the mashing process. Peating at these levels is extremely difficult. Additional enzymes cannot be added to Scotch Whisky and must rely on the natural reaction of the barley, so there is risk each time the heating goes higher and higher.

Certainly we have seen things change with this whisky and I can say Bruichladdich are not shy in varying the concept greatly so a wider market has had a chance to find something the really enjoy. Consider the cask variations and the move to Islay Barley as just two in this Octomore family. This is a good thing I think and something I expect to see more and more in the future from other distillers.

Flat fact is I very much doubt I will ever fall out of love with Octomore. Let us see where this one goes when it hits our shelves and looking forward to the results.

The Baron

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