How we love Bruichladdich, their fiery independence , their Islay born and bred philosophy, their ability to push the boundaries and craft whisky that is truly unique and deserving of praise. With that in mind the Ireland vs Scotland Six Nations game seemed an ideal time to review one of their more recent bottlings – the uber peaty Octomore 4.1. The 4.2 ‘Comus’ has just been released and is wine finished, but the 4.1 we had in front of us is american oak all the way; unadulterated, raw and simply astonishing as you will see.
The whisky is, non chill filtered, as you’d expect and no caramel had been added giving a colour is very much a white wine chardonnay after 5 years in casks.
On the nose we initially detected a huge amount of smoke reminiscent of a beachside bbq, but further examination revealed a milder side. Top notes of sea mist and salt came through, a pre-thunderstorm walk perhaps, but definitely a reminder of rock pools and seaweed. Wet grass was noted as was old books and bizarrely a whiff of spinach. The whisky has a really curious gentle side to it which wasn’t expected from buying the ‘peatiest whisky ever’ and this multi-layering really adds to its charm.
Salty and spicy initially on the palate before the peat came rushing in. Immensely powerful before evaporating off the tongue. A sweetness was detected on second tasting with maybe a slight hint of aniseed and cherry tunes amongst the heat of the dram. Its definitely a whisky to spend some time with to allow it to open up fully!
The finish was as you would expect; big, long and heart pumping. Right at the death it seemed to taste like the fire embers of the dying beach bbq with some coal residue, although not in an unpleasant way. We also found a touch of lemon in there too.
Overall it is sublime and worth the asking price of around £90 if you can find it. Great if you love peat, but it offers so much more than that, making it truly outstanding! Looking forward to seeing what Bruichladdich do next!