A result of pure curiosity, this is the second release of our quadruple distilled Octomore – and at 70% is the highest cask strength whisky we’ve ever produced. Matured in a combination of bourbon, sweet wine, and sherry casks over 10 years, the X4+10 further pushes the boundaries of our super-heavily peated whisky series. Peated to 162ppm. Quadruple Distilled. Bottled at 70%. Limited to 3000 500ml bottles.
Three men, four stills, one fire extinguisher…four distillations. The result of pure curiosity. It shouldn’t have worked, but it did. Recharging the spirit stills an additional two times brought our middle cut to a perilous 89%. A purity of spirit that hadn’t been seen since the 17th Century. No explosions, no fire, no blindness, no stopped hearts, just Octomore.
This one-of-a-kind liquid sits at 70% alcohol, 1% above the strength at which we normally fill our casks. Yet the combination of additional distillation and age has reduced the influence of the peat smoke to one of the most gentle in the history of Octomore.
Colour – Butterscotch.
Nose – Airy and light, banana milkshake, vanilla and tobacco leaf, light praline and coconut. Lemon and grapefruit zest with geranium. With a drop of water, hints of sultana and barley flour come through, then melon and pear with marzipan. Just a whisper of char and even less peat smoke.
Taste – A delicate texture at 70% and a warming sensation crosses the palate, a gentle chilli pepper heat. A hint of char from the wood and resinous sweetness, lemon and honey, and a hint of cloves. A splash of water calms the heat and opens the fruit, mango, melon and marzipan. Tablet, syrup, and vanilla, and, again, the barley flour with ground ginger come through after opening.
Finish – On the finish, there is a little aniseed, a gentle dryness and just the idea of peat smoke. A dry, almost smoked, coconut note fades into a dark fruit, raisin tone. At the very end comes peat smoke, just a little but as ever the power of the Octomore smoke even after four distillations and 10 years cannot be tamed.
Character – Only at Bruichladdich would this be attempted. Quadruple distillation of super heavily peated spirit – discovery of places unknown.
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It started with our friend ‘Demolition Dave’ helping Duncan McGillivray and his gang to demolish the old Inverleven distillery – buying up all the old equipment for scrap and loading it onto barges on the Clyde. All so Duncan had some spares to keep Bruichladdich running in the days of No Money.
As this odd flotilla was being towed round the Mull of Kintyre and up to Islay, Laddie MD Mark Reynier received an email from the Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) in the USA who had been monitoring distillery webcams on the grounds that our processes could have been ‘tweaked’ to produce the dreaded WMD. ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’.
Never one to allow the opportunity for a good story to pass him by, or to get his beloved distillery in the news, Reynier embellished the tale, which soon grew to involve spies and the CIA and visits by weapons inspectors. All of which made great headline-grabbing copy in the febrile media atmosphere then prevailing around WMD.
One of the stills from Inverleven was dutifully set up outside the old Victorian buildings, and became an iconic sight, with a pair of Duncan’s old wellie boots sticking out of the top to represent those weapons inspectors searching for dangerous chemicals deep in its copper bottomed interior.
A special bottling was commissioned (of course) and dubbed the ‘Whisky of Mass Distinction’ (geddit?) and much hilarity ensued. At least among the Laddies, the rest of the whisky industry having long since given up on the noisily irreverent rebels.
Things were about to get even more eccentric because, shortly afterwards, Islay fisherman John Baker was heading home to Port Ellen when he spotted something awash in the sea off the bow of his boat. Being a resourceful man, he attached a rope to said object and towed it into the pier where Gordon Currie lifted it out of the water. It proved to be a very beautiful yellow submarine.
Very conveniently, the yellow vessel had ‘Ministry of Defence’ and a telephone number stencilled on it, which was of course immediately called. What happened next was to become the stuff of legend. He was connected to the Royal Navy. “I have found your yellow submarine” said John. “We haven’t lost a yellow submarine” said the Navy. Which was an odd response as the evidence to the contrary was overwhelming.
John and Gordon then loaded the submarine onto a lorry and took it to a secret location in Port Ellen (actually fellow fisherman Harold Hastie’s back garden). The local newspaper was called, then the nationals, and the following day the red-tops were full of pictures of the two friends astride the lethal-looking machine, carrying fishing rods, and asking: “Has anybody lost a yellow submarine?”
Hilarious… unless you were the Royal Navy – who did eventually admit to it being theirs. HMS Blyth, the minesweeper that lost it, eventually came to pick it up, slipping into the pier at dawn to winch it aboard. By that time, Bruichladdich had (of course) commissioned another bottling, WMD2: The Yellow Submarine, and a box of lovely liquid was graciously offered, and accepted by the captain as a goodwill gesture.