Exclusive: Octomore & PC 7 Pics!!!

15 Comments on Exclusive: Octomore & PC 7 Pics!!!

Well, you know it must be coming up to Christmas (Whaaat?!).  Over a month to Halloween yet and the mince pies were already on sale in Sainsbury’s last Sunday.  And suddenly the first few smatterings of the forthcoming deluge of new products from hungry distilleries eager to cash in on the festive season have begun in earnest.   We’ve already had the Glenmorangie Astar, and the Signet can’t be far away.  Ardbegs Blasda and Mor II are imminent, and very soon the new Diageo Special Releases will be upon us (more details of all of which very soon).

But naturally, and despite their shy and retiring natures, some of the biggest publicity splashes and most highly sought-after and discussed new releases of the winter will be coming in the next two or three weeks from Bruichladdich.

The afore-mentioned hoo-hah is likely to be twice as noisy this year, of course, for not only do we have the third release of Port Charlotte, the ‘PC 7: Unity’ – no doubt there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for the name, we just don’t know what it is yet – but, after literally years of speculation (and many soiled sheets of anticipation amongst the more obsessive peatheads), the first general release edition of the world’s most heavily peated malt whisky will also be taking its bow.

Octomore has been peated at a staggering 131 ppm, more than twenty times higher than normal Bruichladdich – and around two-and-a-half times more than standard Ardbeg, the highest of the other Islay distilleries.  This first release (named ‘Redemption’) has been fully matured in Bourbon casks and bottled at 64.5%.  The picture below is of the design proof for the bottle and its ‘perforated tin’.



So, what’s it actually like?  Unfortunately we haven’t tried it yet, but here’s an excerpt from distillery manager Jim McEwan’s tasting notes, in which he admirably tries to dampen down the feverish hype that mystifyingly seems to generate around some Bruichladdich releases:

“The aromas burst from the glass on a floodtide of Atlantic sea squalls, Sea drenched sailcloth, light iodine, peat moor fires, bog myrtle and bracken.

Once this tempest has passed, the aromas of hawthorn and rowan emerge quickly followed by sweet oak drizzled with vanilla, lemon oil and cinnamon.  The slow distillation has imparted a smoothness in the texture that helps to calm the storm for a while until the next wave crashes onto the palate bringing all the warnings given by the olfactor system.  The Islay character detonates on the tongue unbridled, unrestrained so batten down the hatches.  This youngster encapsulates the very essence of Islay.”

By the way, for anyone wondering about the Redemption name, here’s Jim’s typically understated explanation: “This first general release of Octomore is the redemption of a single malt that never had the opportunity to shine in the galaxy of Islay’s stars many years ago but will now blaze a trail like a meteorite with its impressive 131ppm peating level .  It’s a breath of new life in a world of spin.”

Words fail us.  Thank God for Jim McEwan.

In the furore that Octomore will inevitably cause, the third release of Port Charlotte is in danger of being merely an afterthought instead of one of the biggest releases of the year.  So just to stoke the fires of your desire, here’s a few snaps of what’s to come:

PC7: Woods

PC7: Woods

PC7: James B

PC7: James B

PC7: Andrew

PC7: Andrew

PC7: Bob

PC7: Bob



Please don’t think us shallow, but I’m afraid that we must confess a feeling of relief to see the return of the black tins of PC5 after the somewhat-too-modern-for-this-old-fuddy-duddy white thing that PC 6 turned up in.  And, before anyone asks, NO!  You can’t pick which tin you’ll get when they arrive.  Because, let’s face it – and this is no offence to Andrew, Woods and James B –  it’s pretty clear that you’ll all want Bob.

The ‘tache.

The devil-may-care leaning-on-a-barrel pose.  That man is an islander.

He even looks a bit like Pat Mustard from Father Ted…

Anyway, enough for now.  More excitement soon, no doubt, but in the meantime if you want to get organised, it’s safe to buy those mince pies from Sainsburys.  The best before date was Feb 09. I checked.

Posted in Scotch Whisky, Whisky News
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Andrew Webb says:

Congrats on the new blog. I like the look and feel, and one can never have enough blog entries, books, magazines and other reading material about whisky.

What with Dr. Whisky slowing down, I’ll be hitting your blog daily. Please keep the entries coming!

I’ve often wondered about Octomore… will the stuff actually be drinkable? I’m a peat-head, but I don’t necessarily want something that’s 2.5 times more phenolic than Ardbeg! I’ll be letting others try it first.

bgulien says:

Can we pre-order?

[…] 29, 2008 The Whisky Exchange’s blog has an article on Bruichladdich’s latest releases: Octomore (in a new bottle shape!) and Port Charlotte PC7 […]

Tim F says:

Hi bgulien,

We are currently looking at ways for people to pre-order via the website, but in the meantime if you want to pre-order, the best way is to send an email to my colleagues at [email protected] and let them know what exactly you want.

The Octomore is likely to be just one bottle per customer as our allocation isn’t as big as we’d have liked. The PC7 should be on free order in the beginning at least.

Par Caldenby says:

I do not think that anyone who usually likes peaty whiskies need be afraid to try the Octomore. It is very peaty, but it is also made in the tall stills at Bruichladdich and not as medicinal as a Kildalton malt, i.e. not that heavy. It is good. Whether or not one thinks it is very good is more a matter of personal taste.

Not sure about the wiseness in moving away from the Laddie bottles though, for the Octomore.

Fairly sure that the very good (my thinking there) Port Charlotte will benefit hugely from being released simultaneously with the Octomore. Intra-brand competition, no doubt. And everyone will run for the new boy. Even though the slightly less young one may be the better one, perhaps…

Good idea with the blog, TWE. Like it!

/ Pär

drJarv says:

Well, I don’t know where you got hold of the images, but well done on the sleuthing I suppose! I can tell you that the Octomore image you have shows the wrong typefaces (your computer has replaced the typefaces in our PDF you don’t have with Times I think!), and I can offer some light on the PC7 theme:
Every Port Charlotte release has a Gaelic title (apart from the first, which just had Jim – that was enough!). PC6 was CUAIRT BEATHA “The Walk of Life” – which was Jim’s feeling of this young spirit developing and maturing like a young Ileach making his way in the world, a journey which we – through the yearly PC releases – are invited to join and experience.
PC5 showed Jim, PC6 paid tribute to all the boys in the stillroom who make the spirit, and PC7 is a tribute to the wider community among whom the distillery and the spirit are proud to live. Those who, in their own way, make the whole Port Charlotte (and Bruichladdich) “phenomenon” possible.
For me the thing about both PC and Bruichladdich is that this is real whisky, made by real people in a very real place (not a “brand” invented in Glasgow, London, Paris or Tokyo). Characters and a community with spirit, fire and personality.
To quote Jim: “They are local hard working people who answered the call regardless of their own situation. Without them and many others in our small community we would have struggled longer and travelled less far. We offer them our gratitude and heartfelt thanks.
‘It’s the islay way’ and may it never change

Tim F says:


I assume you’re involved at some stage in the design or marketing of Octomore & PC7 – welcome to the blog.

However, I’m sure you’ll understand that, naturally, we can’t reveal our sources 🙂

Apologies if you think the picture design has changed somewhere between the leak and us posting what we received to the blog. I can assure you that there is no difference between what we were sent and what we posted – any differences must have been already on the pdf we received.

All that notwithstanding, I did mention that what we posted was a design proof, hopefully it should have been inferred that the actual bottle might look a bit different – after all it’s a drawing not an actual photo. Apologies if I didn’t make that clear.

Anyway, if you wish, please feel free to send proper bottle shots and I will happily correct our mistake. Please make them hi-res so everyone can see properly.


Tim F

drJarv says:

i appreciate that Tim – no problem at all. I’ll make sure you get some quality final images when we have them.

Out of interest – what do you think, in principle, of the Octomore bottle. It’s getting a bit of stick on other blogs for being black coated/opaque (like Blacker Still in fact).

Our thinking was that this is such a unique spirit that it doesn’t need to be seen and measured for colour… nor that it should be in a standard Bruichladdich bottle – it’s such a maverick.

I fear the more conventional drinkers disagree!

bgulien says:

Dr. Jarv,

As you might know from the “other” forum, I quite like the opaque bottles. They look good and the whisky is exceptional. Only gripe is the inability to see the level. It might be almost empty without realizing it. 😉

Tim F says:

drJ and bgulien,

That’s such a good issue that I’m going to have to write a post about it!

Angus says:

Out of interest I’ve tried Octomore as a four year old out of cask and I think its a better malt than port Charlotte, the higher ppm combined with the higher levels of reflux from Bruichladdich’s stills make a super oily mouth coater of a dram. As for all this nonsense about it being peated to umpteen hundered ppm or whatever they’re saying it is these days, this is dubious at best considering the two methods of measuring ppm, HPLC and Colometric analysis give wildly different results on anything over 60ppm. Also this level of phenol would react very poorly with the yeasts used in fermentation. Having said that Octomore is simply a very oily, phenolic, powerful islay malt but with less medicinal characteristics than the southern Islay distilleries. It will never, for example, match the raw power of Laphroaig unless they decide to radically alter their distillation techniques. Its all still very exciting to wait and try the bottled product though.

[…] What I do know about it is that it’s 131 ppm Phenol: That’s 3x the peating level of Port Charlotte (actually, it’s a bit higher than 3x). Yowza! The physicist in me suspects that, like other senses, taste and smell are logarithmic, so this might not taste or smell as peaty as it sounds; I can’t wait to try it for myself! More news as events warrant. Posted by tmaufer Filed in Uncategorized […]

[…] Artikel vom Blog von The Whisky Exchange heisst es, dass der PC7 “Unity” heissen soll, auf der Flasche steht jedoch in gälisch […]

[…] wait to try this stuff – Bruichladdich Octomore: the bottle suggests its phenol level is 130ppm, so it’s gonna taste quite different […]

[…] bottles as props. Reynier dispatched one of the destillery’s prime products (the Octomore) plus a vintage one for Ford’s own use — and one of a "more modest age" for […]

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