On New Year’s Eve I am all for smoke – albeit in the glass and not in the air! One whisky brand that you can always count on in this regard is Octomore by Bruichladdich. Whenever a malt gets released under the Octomore banner, you can be sure that it is packed to the brim with peat, soot, tar, ash and phenols. To me, sipping a glass of Octomore marks a perfect way to usher out the year with an thundering smokeblow that neither scares our four-legged friends nor pollutes the environment. In 2020, I have selected one of the series’ absolute highlights as my last dram of the year, namely the Octomore Masterclass 08.2. It is eight years old, matured in a variety of (sweet) wine casks and – like all Octomores – bottled in cask strength without coloring or chill filtration. If you read my tasting notes below, you will surely know why I just called this particular expression a highlight of the range. Yet, I understand that my over-enthused rave alone might not be enough to convince you of this whisky’s greatness. After all, I get excited pretty easily. So let me close this wee article with the notion that my friend David, who is by far the biggest Laddie fan I know, dearly loves this drop, too. In fact, he even calls the Masterclass 08.2 his very favorite Octomore of all! And, quite frankly, I totally understand why … !
Eye: Bright bronze.
Nose: The bouquet is heavy and condensed. In it a myriad of aromas come together. I get a lotta toffee crumble and almond creme first. Then, the whisky becomes nuttier with roasted walnuts coated in dark honey. Of course, there is a lot of black smoke to be smelled here as well – after all, this is an Octomore! The whisky’s maritime origin is apparent during the nosing, too. It appears in the form of salt-crusted harbor walls. On top of the mentioned notes, there are pretzels, syrup and red beef. But also a few light and bright fruits. The complexity of the Octomore 08.2’s bouquet is stupefying!
Palate: Impressive! The 08.2 is smoky, savory, sweet and sumptuous all together. Surprisingly, it is also quite smooth – despite the fact that it clocks in at 58.4 per cent and 167 PPM. It offers pipe tobacco, caramel drops, hazelnut cake, marzipan chocolate, orange zest and English marmalade. Also burnt pastry, BBQ’ed pineapple slices and a variety of vineous notes. The differing flavors form a neat, strong union – yet each of them sticks out, too!
Finish: As expected, this “super heavily peated” Islay malt’s finale is highly spectacular. Sweetness clashes with smokiness. Perfumed puff clashes with minty fizz. Green banana clashes with dark cherry. Sticky toffee clashes with unbaked dough. Hard beeswax clashes with crunchy peach. Sheer awesomeness clashes with … erm, well … sheer awesomeness!
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Region: Scotland (Islay)
Age: 8 Years
Alc. volume: 58.4%
Casks: French wine, Austrian wine & Amarone
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Price range: ~150.00 Euro
More info: http://www.bruichladdich.com/
*** I bought the bottle from EDF Duty Free Paradise on Helgoland. ***