Octomore 07.3

Ochdamh-mòr

Octomore Edition 07.3 / 169 PPM / Aged 5 years

Octomore 07.3 is our uber-provenance single malt whisky crafted from malting barley grown on our friend James Brown’s Octomore farm. 07.3 was distilled in 2010 from grain harvested from a single field called Lorgba in 2009. The malt was peated to 169ppm and the spirit it gave matured here on Islay for its entire life with casks of American oak being married to casks from the great Spanish wine growing region of Ribera del Duero.

Ochdamh-mòr

Octomore 07.3

Tasting Notes


NOSE — Opens with the unmistakeable hit of peat smoke followed by ozone and salt spray, then lemon cake. The marine notes characteristic of maturation by the shores of Loch Indaal. Warm the glass in your hand and wait as apricot jam, cinder toffee, vanilla, buttercups and lilies rise and interweave.

PALATE — The texture is a striking testament to the distiller’s art, rich and satin smooth despite the high strength. Initially there is salt on the lips with sweetness from the American oak combining with the peat smoke. A second sip uncovers the heart of the dram through layers of peaches, apricot, melon and ginger syrup. Once there, malted Islay barley and toasted oak compliment  oral notes of wild thyme, mint and buttercup.

FINISH — Everything about this dram speaks of Islay and our slow distillation, the peat smoke and salt spray powerful yet gentle and complex. The Islay grown barley gives a character like no other. The culmination of many hours of hard work, determination and skill, long after the glass is empty the peat embers from this whisky remain alive on your taste buds.

MOOD — Walking an Islay beach with the wind at your back. Salt-laden sand blowing past your feet. Returning home to a peat  re and the warmth of the family hearth. Contentment.

THE ISLAND OF ISLAY IS THE MOST FERTILE OF THE INNER HEBRIDES OF SCOTLAND, OUR SOILS SALT-SOAKED BY FIERCE ATLANTIC WEATHER SYSTEMS, WARMED BY THE GULF STREAM AND WASHED BY WIND AND RAIN.


Octomore Farm sits high above the western shore of Loch Indaal, the shallow sea loch that marks the southern extent of the huge Great Glen Fault which travels north east and divides the Scottish Highlands. The word Octomore comes from a medieval measurement of land meaning ‘The Big Eighth’.

Back in the 19th century the farm once housed a micro distillery where the Montgomery family crafted what we believe was a heavily peated spirit made with locally grown barley.

Today it is the home of the Browns, a family that have witnessed many changes, from the passing of paraf n lamps and the coming of electricity, to the renaissance of Bruichladdich and the growth of international interest in Islay.

——

It was during a late night “what if” session that the idea of peating malting barley to the maximum extent possible and then slowly running it through the tall elegant stills at Bruichladdich first emerged.

The spirit we created as a result was of a style never seen or experienced before – it stood alone. The titanic levels of peat nascent in Octomore rumble in the background but they are held in check by a craftsmanship that restrain the fires and envelop the smoke in a complex sensory maze.

Our mission with Octomore has been to explore the spirit through a series of provocative experiments, pushing boundaries of phenolic tolerances and transporting the dark arts of distillation over completely new horizons. Guiding us there have been the many strands of DNA that drive the Bruichladdich ethos, prime among which is our bond to this land and its people.

Jamess Brown of Octomore Farm
55°44’44.6”N 6°22’44.0”W


Lorgba field

Octomore is much more than just a place name. From the beginning James Brown of Octomore Farm has been a source of great strength to this Progressive Hebridean Distillery. He has been advisor, supplier, contractor, barley farmer and friend.
——
James was born at Carn just south of Port Charlotte. He moved to Octomore in 1960 at the age of eight when his family assumed the tenancy there, and remembers walking their cattle through the village and up the hill to their new home.

The Browns were to eventually own Octomore, with James taking over the farm from his father. Adapting to the times, James moved from a dairy herd into beef cattle many years ago, and then he rose to the challenge offered by the renascent Bruichladdich
——
He would plough some of his best land and sow malting barley for us. There would be Octomore of Octomore.

AS PROGRESSIVE DISTILLERS OF SINGLE MALT WHISKIES, WE BELIEVE THAT OUR RAW MATERIALS DESERVE RESPECT.


In the world of fine wine, terroir is a concept that reflects the in influence of soil, subsoil, exposure, orientation, climate and micro-climate on the grape harvest. The great vineyards revere terroir for the subtle nuances of traceable character, flavour, lineage and integrity it bestows. As distillers of the world’s most thought-provoking single malt Scotch whiskies, we believe they are right.

We believe that the provenance of our barley matters and for a number of years now, thanks to James we have been able to distil a limited amount of Octomore spirit from barley grown on Octomore Farm. The effect of terroir on barley produces variation not just at a regional level but also from farm to farm and from harvest to harvest.

We believe it imparts new dimensions and variety to sensory perception.

Octomore 07.3 is another milestone on our journey of discovery, proudly recording vintage, field, barley variety, distillation and cask management profiles.

The analogy with fine wine is a powerful one. Industrial producers of whisky would rather their ‘consumers’ concentrated on a homogenised product image rather than addressing more esoteric concepts such as terroir.

JUST AS THE GREAT STRENGTH OF THE ANGUS AND HIGHLAND CATTLE OF OCTOMORE FARM CAN BE CONTROLLED THROUGH SKILFUL HANDLING, SO THE IMMENSE PEAT AND SMOKE FLAVOURS WE COME INTO CONTACT WITH IN THIS SPIRIT MUST BE RESTRAINED AND DISCIPLINED.


This is about latent complexity that reaches well beyond stratospheric levels of phenols. This is something with great depth and breeding. It is our subtle management of this raw power that has become the stuff of legend. However, Octomore is not simply a whisky, it is a sequence of thought-provoking ideas. Every edition in the sequence is limited, finite and unique.

Highland Cows at Octomore

JUST AS THE GREAT STRENGTH OF THE ANGUS AND HIGHLAND CATTLE OF OCTOMORE FARM CAN BE CONTROLLED THROUGH SKILFUL HANDLING, SO THE IMMENSE PEAT AND SMOKE FLAVOURS WE COME INTO CONTACT WITH IN THIS SPIRIT MUST BE RESTRAINED AND DISCIPLINED.


This is about latent complexity that reaches well beyond stratospheric levels of phenols. This is something with great depth and breeding. It is our subtle management of this raw power that has become the stuff of legend. However, Octomore is not simply a whisky, it is a sequence of thought-provoking ideas. Every edition in the sequence is limited, finite and unique.

Highland Cows at Octomore

PLOUGHING OCTOMORE
04.2015


Temperature Variation
MONTHLY AVERAGE TEMPERATURE ON ISLAY.
2008 & 2009 HARVESTS.
20082009
Rainfall Variation
MONTHLY AVERAGE RAINFALL ON ISLAY.
2008 & 2009 HARVESTS.
20082009
Sunshine Variation
MONTHLY AVERAGE SUNSHINE ON ISLAY.
2008 & 2009 HARVESTS.
20082009

SCIENCE AND ART IS THE DUALITY THAT BEGETS CRAFT. EACH OCTOMORE IS CREATED BY CRAFTSMEN WITH ENQUIRING MINDS WHO APPRECIATE THAT DISTILLATION IS A DYNAMIC SYSTEM THE SUM OF WHICH IS GREATER THAN ITS COMPONENT PARTS.


Only through handling the raw grain, then malting it, milling it and mashing it does the signi cance of malting barley, our fundamental raw material, become apparent. The variety and varieties are manifest to the farmer, to the maltster and mashman, and on to the distiller who tastes the differences in his new make spirit.

Rejecting homogenisation, Octomore celebrates the reality that variety is everywhere, made apparent through subtlety and nuance. Just as the conditions in which harvests are taken vary from year to year, so no two casks are ever exactly the same.

The profound effect of the cask on maturing spirit also stimulates our enquiring minds. Why do we defy convention and ll these elegant, time-honoured oak containers at full strength? What are the complexities of cask provenance and ll history? What effect does maturation environment have on the spirit? These are just some of the questions that reach back through the generations, and resonate with our modern world.

THE OPEN-TOPPED MASH TUN AT BRUICHLADDICH DATES BACK TO 1881 WHEN THE DISTILLERY WAS BUILT. MUCH OF THE EQUIPMENT, AND THE ARTISANAL PRODUCTION METHODS STILL IN USE ARE THE SAME AS THOSE EMPLOYED BY OUR VICTORIAN FOREFATHERS.


The malted barley for Octomore 07.3 was weighed and presented for grinding in the ancient, but pin-accurate Boby mill. Our mashmen then carefully controlled the constituency of the grist ensuring the correct proportion of husk, ‘middles’ and flour.

Hot-soaked four times in the mash tun, the naturally occurring enzymes that converted the starch into sugars during the malting process completed their work. A warm sweet ‘wort’ was sent forward to our Douglas Fir washbacks where distiller’s yeasts slowly converted the sugars into a richly phenolic and aromatic wash.

The atmosphere created when Octomore is being mashed and fermented in this open environment is an intense almost overpowering sensation. It is something only our mashmen and lucky visitors will ever witness.

Mash ton

THE OPEN-TOPPED MASH TUN AT BRUICHLADDICH DATES BACK TO 1881 WHEN THE DISTILLERY WAS BUILT. MUCH OF THE EQUIPMENT, AND THE ARTISANAL PRODUCTION METHODS STILL IN USE ARE THE SAME AS THOSE EMPLOYED BY OUR VICTORIAN FOREFATHERS.


The malted barley for Octomore 07.3 was weighed and presented for grinding in the ancient, but pin-accurate Boby mill. Our mashmen then carefully controlled the constituency of the grist ensuring the correct proportion of husk, ‘middles’ and flour.

Hot-soaked four times in the mash tun, the naturally occurring enzymes that converted the starch into sugars during the malting process completed their work. A warm sweet ‘wort’ was sent forward to our Douglas Fir washbacks where distiller’s yeasts slowly converted the sugars into a richly phenolic and aromatic wash.

The atmosphere created when Octomore is being mashed and fermented in this open environment is an intense almost overpowering sensation. It is something only our mashmen and lucky visitors will ever witness.

Mash ton
Production Director Allan Logan and Head Distiller Adam Hannett working on The Botanist at the spirit safe.

THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THE AMBIENT FEELING IN THE STILL ROOM AND EVEN THE COURTYARD CHANGES WHEN OCTOMORE SPIRIT BEGINS TO RUN – THERE IS A SENSE THAT NOBODY ELSE WOULD DARE TO HARNESS ITS RAW POWER.


The distillation at these immense peating levels is controlled by hand in a delicate operation that is constantly monitored, not by computers but by people, modern artisans underpinned by generations of knowledge. The super slow trickle distillation and the judgement of the middle cut is carefully manipulated by men who watch, sense, taste, measure, and understand.

Overseeing every stage are Production Director Allan Logan and Head Distiller Adam Hannett. Working with the stillmen these brilliant young distillers achieve the thick, oily constituency, the unctuous mouthfeel and the astonishing nose and palate of this precious liquid, their profound understanding of the science tuned to the craftsman’s savvy.

To taste the new make spirit they collectively create is an extraordinary experience. There is nothing else like it. This is the cult of Octomore.

Adam Hannett and Allan Logan

THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THE AMBIENT FEELING IN THE STILL ROOM AND EVEN THE COURTYARD CHANGES WHEN OCTOMORE SPIRIT BEGINS TO RUN – THERE IS A SENSE THAT NOBODY ELSE WOULD DARE TO HARNESS ITS RAW POWER.


The distillation at these immense peating levels is controlled by hand in a delicate operation that is constantly monitored, not by computers but by people, modern artisans underpinned by generations of knowledge. The super slow trickle distillation and the judgement of the middle cut is carefully manipulated by men who watch, sense, taste, measure, and understand.

Overseeing every stage are Production Director Allan Logan and Head Distiller Adam Hannett. Working with the stillmen these brilliant young distillers achieve the thick, oily constituency, the unctuous mouthfeel and the astonishing nose and palate of this precious liquid, their profound understanding of the science tuned to the craftsman’s savvy.

To taste the new make spirit they collectively create is an extraordinary experience. There is nothing else like it. This is the cult of Octomore.

CASK MANAGEMENT IS A COMPLEX, ACTIVE, ONGOING PROGRAMME THAT REQUIRES CONSTANT MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT OF THE SPIRIT AS IT DEVELOPS.


07.3 was developed in a collaboration between recently retired distilling legend Jim McEwan and our Head Distiller Adam Hannett, who has been working alongside Jim for the past decade.

The profile they eventually selected was a combination of rst ll ex-American Bour-bon casks and those that had previously held a big red wine from the great Spanish region of Ribera del Duero. Only a carefully compiled selection of the finest oak barrels was filled, with spirit at 68.5- 69% alc/vol, the strength at which it came off the still. No water was added.

All matured for five years in our warehouses on Islay, granting space for the charisma of the grain and the power of the phenols to assert themselves in concert with the personalities of these vitally important casks.

When the time came, the assemblage was individually assessed and vatted before being re-casked in neutral wood for a period to allow the component partners to ‘marry’. This is yet another critical stage and only when Jim and Adam were satisfied was the single malt released for bottling in the Harvey Hall at the distillery.

Bruichladdich Distillery
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