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Bruichladdich Octomore 7.4 Virgin Oak Islay Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)
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- ABV 61.2%
Virgin oak maturation is an emerging trend in European whisky, and while Bruichladdich's annual super-smokey release isn’t entirely matured in virgin oak, a little can go a long way. 25% of this year's Octomore was solely matured in virgin casks from the Allier region of France for a period of seven years. The remainder took an alternative route: three years in first fill ex-bourbon casks, followed by two years in French virgin oak casks. Then, in a highly unusual manoeuvre, the whisky was filled again into first fill ex-bourbon casks for another two years.Why seven years when most previous Octomores have set a benchmark at five? Distiller Adam Hannett explains, "Because Bruichladdich is a spirits-first company, rather than a slave to tradition, we’ll do what is right for the whisky” he said.
Other than that, Octomore 7.4 is much like its younger siblings. Packaged in a tapering torpedo style bottle, extremely peaty - 167ppm - and bottled at natural strength. This edition is 61.2% Alc./Vol. 12,000 bottles are on offer world wide. Our allocation this year is woefully small. Tasting note: The deep topaz colour dazzles in the glass. More woody on the nose than some previous Octomores, but with the usual aromatic range: damp earth, smoked meats (bacon), cigar box and varnish in the opening volley; 5-7 minutes air contact adds potpourri and dried herbal notes; the final pass accenting farmyard, mulch and shoe polish. A massive, brawny malt; mezcal-like smoke, pepper, baked citrus and rubber with high-pitch peat resonating. Finish is tooth-coating, vanilla-heavy then earthy / briny / tangy. Liquorice late in the aftertaste which wavers then seemingly never ends. A head on collision of oak and peat. 61.2% Alc./Vol.