The effect of virgin oak on whisky can be dramatic. Head Distiller Adam Hannett must balance the immense sensory force of the raw wood whilst retaining the subtle complexity of the Octomore spirit. The solution demands a complex cask management system. Although all of the spirit in Octomore 08.4 is eight years old just 20% has been held full-term in virgin oak. 80% was originally introduced to American oak, first-fill ex-Bourbon casks, before being transferred into the European virgin oak that had previously held Octomore 07.4.
CHARACTER – The power of Octomore and virgin oak combine again to show another of the endless possibilities we can create when our focus is on the fundamental elements of whisky making.
AROMA – A little smoke but gentle and warm. The oak comes with sweet honeyed malt and banana bread. The phenolic muddy notes come again now with a peppery, floral edge. With time the oak gives more and more, toffee popcorn, vanilla fudge, coconut, cinnamon. The smoke fades back a little now.
TASTE – A rich texture feels like honey as it slowly builds the flavour of the sweet mellow oak. Leather and toasted wood combine with the delicate smoke. There is balance here as there is no oak notes without an equal and complimenting note from the smoke. Praline, coconut, clove are matched with barbeque, burnt heather and iodine. The spirit behind the smoke and oak brings a lemon and salt spray hit once opened with spring water as well as hints of mint and stewed apple.
FINISH – Clove, aniseed and coffee grounds fade to peat smoke – the typical, classic Octomore finish that always lingers in your mind.
COLOUR – Autumn leaves