Obsessed… some have called me this and they would not be wrong… I think of myself as a purist… that person who seeks out real, authentic product that is a testament to the Craft.

Octomore, produced by Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay, is for purists… or those obsessed.

I am relatively new to the Octomore fan club, having only just joined with the 6.3 bottling. Since my first taste, I have wended my way through the 7.1 and 8.3 bottles, finding that with each intense treatment, I am left wanting more. Recently, I have been scouring the market in search of the 8.1, a veritable unicorn for Octomore in the US.

Much to my pleasure, my friends at the Whisky Exchange had the 8.1 in stock and but one ocean away… so, throwing care to the wind, the order was placed and the wait began. Fortunately, I have had remarkable luck with the WE, and the 8.1 arrived, lovingly packed and ready to sip.

The Octomore are cask strength monsters that pay homage to the gods of Islay. If you thought Laphroaig and Lagavulin were impactful as Islay malts, then you need to taste the Octomore. Without a doubt, Octomore redefines Islay and sets the bar very high for Peat and Smoke.

Comparatively, the 8.1 is “lighter” than the 8.3 and is more like the 6.3 in balance and flavor. Massive peat and smoke dominate the palate with a hint of honey, vanilla and violets on the finish. A trifle hot, with a few drops of mineral water, the whisky explodes and at the same time, tames itself nicely.

Contemplative is the word I would use to best describe the experience of sipping an Octomore… and if you close your eyes, you are transported to Islay, where the mix of peat, smoke and sea salt tempt your nostrils and conjure an ancient time when whisky was first born…