Octomore 14.4 is the final single malt in Bruichladdich Distillery’s heavily peated collection.
The release follows a trio of launches in September. Just 3,540 bottles of the new expression are available.
The Octomore 14 series is said to ‘push the boundaries of conventional whisky making’. First released in 2008, Octomore single malts are matured for five years, bottled ‘close to cask strength’ and always super-heavily peated.
Distilled from 100% Scottish mainland Concerto barley, the five-year-old Octomore 14.4 is malted to 106ppm before being bottled at 59.2% ABV.
Octomore 14.4 is the Islay distillery’s first expression matured exclusively in Colombian virgin oak casks. The cask structure is said to be similar to that of French oak, with the tight grain releasing a ‘sweet vanilla and caramel’ flavour.
The casks were toasted at different levels, ranging from light and medium toasting to intensely high charring, before they were brought together.
Adam Hannett, head distiller at Bruichladdich Distillery, said: “Each new Octomore series is the opportunity to push myself as a whisky maker, and this small-batch release of 14.4 is no different.
“This is the first time we have ever experimented with Colombian virgin oak casks, and we had no idea how the super-heavily peated Octomore spirit would take to the oak. We trialled different charring and toasting levels to find the perfect balance, honing our knowledge of these single cask variations and the incredible influence these subtle nuances can have on the final spirit.
“As a distiller, rewriting the rule book with each annual Octomore series is equal parts challenging and rewarding. It’s a single malt that is too young, too strong and too peaty. It shouldn’t work, but it does. It forces us to continuously learn, grow, question and look towards the future, with this unrelenting curiosity and courage inherent to the Octomore DNA.”
Octomore 14.4 has ‘toasted, resinous oak’ on the nose, with notes of ‘toffee, smooth caramel and wood spices’ on the palate. A vanilla from the oak adds to the ‘creamy texture’ of the finish, while Octomore’s signature peat smoke lingers.
A 700ml bottle can be bought exclusively at the distillery and on the brand’s website for £175 (US$220).