Bruichladdich Distillery has launched an expression in its heavily peated Octomore series that has been fully matured in Colombian oak casks.
Octomore 14.4, the fourth and final instalment in the Octomore 14 series, was made from Scottish barley malted to 106ppm before distillation. In a first for the distillery, it was exclusively matured in virgin Colombian oak casks for five years.
The Colombian oak (Quercus humboldtii) has a similar structure to French oak, with a tight grain. Bruichladdich says it has imparted significant notes of caramel and sweet vanilla to the spirit. The casks used to mature the spirit for Octomore 14.4 were treated with a range of toast and char levels.
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 on 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 which 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.”
The Octomore 14.4 is bottled at 59.2% ABV without chill filtration or colouring. It is available from bruichladdich.com priced at £175.