Some people hate it, some people love it. Peat, the dark, spongy matter dug out from the earth, is what’s responsible for that signature smoky flavour found in some whiskies. You malt the barley, and at the same time, send heat and smoke rising from the peat-fired kiln below. This results in dry barley incensed with an intense smoky flavour that will stick around till the day you pop the bottle open. You might hate it, but sooner or later, it grows on you.
For the rest who lean more towards smoky types like Laphroaig or Lagavulin, we recommend you take it up several notches. Give the Bruichladdich Octomore 8s range a shot. Known to be the most heavily peated whisky around, it sounds like a bit of an overkill, but the Islay distillery manages to inject subtle flavour nuances without tipping the balance. There are four expressions in total, and the Masterclass 08.3 edition is hands down the smokiest. While the rest border on 170PPM, the 08.3 hits a whopping 309PPM. That’s ridiculously smoky, but it tasted so good, we’re not complaining.
The Octomore Masterclass 08.3 is deceptively young at five years old, but you’ll be surprised. Aged in ex-bourbon and European casks, the nose reveals maple syrup, cherries, peach and mango, while every sip opens with more fruit, sweet oak and dark chocolate, taking over the peat smoke. It improves as you go. Finish it, and you’ll think of creme brûlée – bittersweet at first, but complex and gorgeous, once you get to know it better.
The Octomore 8s will be available by this April, with 08.2 only in travel retail. More on the selection on the Bruichladdich website