Bruichladdich – Octomore ‘1695 Discovery’ – Tasting Notes

Treating myself to some Octomore ‘1695 Discovery’, the whisky that Bruichladdich released at the 2014 edition of the awesome festival on Islay called Feis Ile. It is matured in Oloroso Sherry butts for seven years. It is no secret we love the products that they are making, and the Octomore has a special place in our heart for sure! We were so happy to be able to have a bottle of this lovely nectar to enjoy.

Here is a little piece of information on this whisky that Bruichladdich has on their great website.

Back in 2007, Jim McEwan, inspired by the great Scots traveler Martin Martin, quadruple distilled a spirit made from super heavily peated malt that was destined to become Octomore.  Martin Martin was an adventurer on a journey of discovery. He wrote one of the first travelogues about the Western Isles of Scotland and famously described some early versions of what would eventually evolve into Scotch whisky: “the Natives to brew several sorts of Liquors, as common Usquebaugh, another call’d Trestarig, id est Aquavitae, three times distill’d, which is strong and hot; a third sort is four times distill’d, and this by the Natives is call’d Usquebaugh-baul, id est Usquebaugh, which at first taste affects all the Members of the Body: two spoonfuls of this last Liquor is a sufficient Dose; and if any Man exceed this, it would presently stop his Breath, and endanger his Life”.

This was probably an example of Martin being somewhat credulous, but the description of distillation is unequivocal. His journey took place around 1695 and during Feis Ile, at 1.00pm on Sunday 25th May 2014, a limited edition of just 1,695 bottles of Octomore Discovery will be offered for sale at Bruichladdich exclusively to visitors to the distillery. The spirit was distilled on 18th February 2007 and has been bottled at 69.5% using a little of the pure spring water that rises on Octomore Farm above the village of Port Charlotte.

This Octomore is quite unlike any of those that have gone before. This is a another step in our progressive exploration of the distiller’s art. Although the grain was originally malted at peating levels previously unheard of in the creation of a single malt whisky, the quadruple trickle distillation means that this is no longer about the numbers… it is much more important than that.

So have a look shall we? 


Nose
Soft peat mixed with equaliptus, herbal, soft fruit, and a strong pepper note, prickling on the nose for sure. Time to put some water in it, at 69,5% something really needed to open it up and not burn away your nose hairs in a good way. Added three full pipits of water and then I see a good change happening and lots of sweet and soft notes appear.

Sweet honey and dark fruit jam coming more to the front, and slowly you can fill a whole fruit basket with all the kinds of fruits you can think of. Freshly squeezed orange juice, soft canned peaches, fresh apricots, vanilla and cookie dough. The notes are sometimes lingering in the back and just showing a little bit of them self. Thomas added five full pipits of water to his glass and the notes become more clear, and the sweet dark fruit jam is very clear mixed with a wood note like from a burning fire. Also some very sweet notes that reminded me of baking pastries like fruitcake, Turkish fruit, lemon and cream spongy cake. The nose keeps shifting from one flavour “mood” to another, but still in a way that it is balanced although they look sometimes worlds apart.

When the peat appears between the sweet notes and combines with the herbal and equaliptus notes it gives me back an almost earthy/meaty note. Its so full and dense, it just wont release it secrets fast for sure, and you need to add lots and lots of water to open it up to not just get only an alcohol kick in the stomach and a peaty mouth feel. 

Palate
Peat and chili pepper with honey in the first taste. A sweet, creamy, equaliptus and very strong flavour set appear. Adding the three to five full pipets of water give back the notes also found on the nose clearly. It adds some liquerish, dark chocolate and a hint of espresso note. 
Dark fruit jam again and makes you want some heavy wintery food. It feels strong and bit dark/mystical. The buttery mouth feel and sweet sultana, but also rich fresh stone fruits behind the dark fruits, blackcurrant, plums, berries and many many more. Very enjoyable, balanced, sweet, hint of aniseed and very yummy. 
Finish
A medium to long finish sweet and fruity feel mixed with soft peat. 
Score
A full and rich whisky that gets an 8 out of 10 from me at least. It is something that needs time and bit if effort to get to the bottom off. Lovely and not “just” a dram for sure. Bit difficult and testing the senses for sure. But if you can get your hands on some of this have a try and let me know what your thoughts are on it, love to hear what you can find in this one, it just kept giving me different notes. Lovely! 
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