Octomore 7.3 Islay Barley – Review

The last day or so was quite rainy an stormy if not very cold, and what better weather than this to be drinking peated malts, right? When you’re talking peat monsters there is one clear king in terms of power , PPM and quality, and that is the Bruichladdich family of Octomore malts.  The latest installment (like the 6.3) is made from local Islay Barley grown only 2 miles away from the distillery, at James Browns’ Octomore Farm.  It was distilled in 2010 from grain harvested on Lorgba field the previous summer, peated to 169ppm and matured  on Islay for in both  American bourbon barrels and Spanish wine casks of Ribera del Duero. Not that 169 ppm is not a lot, but this time it’s far lower than 7.2’s whopping 208ppm (you should note that ppm is not really saying much, and the differences are quite minor, and there’s much more to the whisky than the ppm).

Bruichladdich Octomore 7.3 Islay Barley , 63% ABV ,  £165 octomore-7-3-islay-barley

Nose: I was expecting it to be a fierce entry, but this expressions is quite different than previous ones, it’s sweeter and creamier, and though you get tons of peat in the background, it is really full of vanilla creaminess, on top of a very (and I mean very) farmy backbone : it’s like drinking a cream vanilla shake in a barn. there’s a lot of reeky stuff going on in a yummy way, I love this sort of combination. There’s also stewed fruit note, maybe tinned peaches and pineapple. Not getting any of the baby vomit notes I am so used to in the Octomores, which is a change…

Palate: Big peaty heaven for the peat freak. some lemon and creamy malt on the backdrop, but the peat is king. cured bacon, ash, and pepper with more farmy notes over here. some pear droplets and more ash, salt. This maybe peated to “only” 169 ppm, but it is intense , nonetheless.

Finish: Sea salt, farmyard, peat and ash, with the lemony touches going on for some time. a very very long, and dirty finish (peaty).

Bottom line:

This is a delicious whisky, and in par with the 6.3 Islay Barley – something is really working out with that local barley for the Ultra Peated Octomore.  Only downside for me is pricing (that is a pattern recently , isn’t it?) 160 quid for a 5 year old whisky is a lot of money even at 63%. Peat freaks who adore Octomore should get this no doubt. Peat as it should be!

Score: 90/100

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