Then in 2008 James was also persuaded to begin growing malting barley at Octomore. The dream was that one day there would be Octomore of Octomore, single malts distilled only from barley grown on the Islay farm, soaked in the maritime climate of the Hebrides.
This was always going to be difficult, the weather is fierce, the wild deer and geese a constant threat. A huge amount of work had to be done, the old field drains repaired and the big boulders that threatened to break the combine harvester removed. The yield of grain per hectare was eventually around half what most mainland barley barons might have expected, but this was never about yield, this was about connection to a place, and its people.
Each vintage of these uber-provenance whiskies varies with the climate, the barley variety and the location. This latest Octomore of Octomore, grown on Lorgba field but obscurely designated “7.3”, was distilled from the harvest of 2009. It was peated to a colossal 169ppm but the spirit is satin smooth despite the awesome power delivered by 63% abv.
Whisky connoisseurs will immediately recognise the deceptive subtlety so characteristic of these single malts when they are in the glass, but there is also another subliminal dimension; an understanding of why these spirits are so different and why people feel so connected to them. This is their dreams delivered – land and drams united.
Details on where to buy Octomore 07.3 here.