Bruichladdich through their Octomore range have just released their new 10 year old. These are always very special. But part of the annual releases is always the Octomore .2 range, usually wine finished and always exquisite - one of the highlights of the whisky year for Fib Whisky founder Aedan. Bruichladdich's story means a lot to us - not only was it one of the first distilleries we visited on Islay, which also gave us one of the warmest welcomes, it also has a long-running commitment to transparency and environmentalism, as well as experimentation with local barley, which makes it one of the most exciting and innovative distilleries in Scotland right now. Octomore is famous, or infamous, for being the most heavily peated whisky in the world, with each annual release containing at least 3 expressions. The .2s were formally reserved to travel retail, before complications to Covid, and have always been some of the most exciting. 12.2, the latest release in this series, was distilled in 2014, spending several years in bourbon barrels before receiving at least 2 years finish within Sauternes barriques, making it an exciting whisky indeed.
The palate starts with the caramelised, smoky, slightly chocolatey peat Octomore is known for, with a beautiful overlay of caramelised and slightly jammy peach, possibly apricot, setting the tone. It is like an intense chocolate brownie (dark chocolate), overlaid with stewed and cooked fruits. The smoke is perhaps a little more concentrated on the centre palate, but still chocolatey, with nice layers of spice, probably mainly nutmeg, coming in for the finish. Concentrated fruit syrups provide a freshness and acid, which quickly combines with the chocolate notes. Essentially, the freshness from the fruit on the front palate immediately combines also with spies, becoming richer and more intense as the dram goes on. A typical, beautiful Octomore, also typical of sauternes used in this way. One of the best drams you could find.