The world's most heavily peated single malt has had a brobdingnagian effect on a world aching for a challenge to comfortable convention. An esoteric series of numbered, experimental, mostly very limited releases, has fatally undermined the assumption that the quality of Scotch whisky is simply a function of its age.
Clinging to the hill high above Port Charlotte on the Rhinns of Islay is the enigma that is Octomore Farm, for Octomore too once housed a distillery. Even older than the beautiful village it overlooks, Octomore is a throwback to the days of fierce independence, when self sufficiency was the only option, and the legality of distillation itself still a revolutionary concept.
The men who tended the fires at Octomore would have grown the barley on their land, and cut the peat from their banks. The distillery burst into life in the distant days of 1816, long before the Clyde puffers were bringing coal in from Glasgow, and burnt brightly for a few short years. The spirit they produced would also have been heavily peated, and sold very young to a market keen to experience the unique flavours that emerge from this extraordinary island. We are confident they would have saluted Octomore today. The iron fist in the velvet glove.