Distiller: Bruichladdich. Region: Islay. ABV: 61.2%. Age: 7 years. Price: $250.
One word could sum up the Bruichladdich Octomore 7.4 tasting event I attended in Chicago: unforgettable. Islay-born and raised head distiller Adam Hannett was in my home city to launch the United States arrival of the newest Octomore–the 7.4 Virgin Oak.
I’ve been drinking Octomore since edition 1.1, and have experienced the bold innovation that has been showcased in each subsequent release, but the 7.4 takes Octomore to a whole new place. This is a bottle of superlatives suited for the adventurous.
This inaugural 7-year-old release is bottled at 61.2% ABV, with 25% of the liquid matured the full seven years in French virgin oak casks, and 75% matured three years in classic first-fill bourbon casks, then 2 years in virgin oak, before a final 2 years again spent in first-fill bourbon casks.
The 7.4 has a familiar nose of powerful smoke, which you’d expect with it being peated to 167 ppm, but that’s where the familiarity ends. Unique sweet BBQ notes from the virgin oak reveal themselves and balance the smoke. On the palate the sweetness transitions to lovely dried fruits with rich oak and spice. The distinctive mix of sweet smoke and spice continue on the finish, and as the oak fades you’re left where you started, with lingering smoke.
This powerful Octomore is unlike any of its predecessors, and recommended for anyone looking to go where no Octomore has gone before. Cheers! – JTR
Bruichladdich kindly provided a sample for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.