Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Type: Single Malt
Bottler: Distiller
ABV: 70%
Score: 95 points

Bruichladdich Octomore X4+10 Islay Single Malt. Image courtesy Bruichladdich.Imagine a heavily-peated, quadruple-distilled single malt whisky bottled at 70% ABV – so strong that it has to leave the Isle of Islay on the ferry because it’s too strong to legally be flown off the island. Sounds like a peat monster, doesn’t it?

This is the end result of Bruichladdich’s experiments with quadruple-distilling a decade ago that led to complaints from the Scotch Whisky Association at the time, only this experiment was done with the distillery’s heavily-peated malt (162 ppm) and allowed to mature for 10 years on Islay in a combination of ex-Bourbon, ex-Sherry, and “sweet wine” casks.

The nose is well-rounded and aromatic with touches of banana, coconut, and citrus fruits along with almond oil, a nice maltiness, and just a whiff of peat smoke. The taste has chili powder, cinnamon, and clove spices, charred oak, a touch of heathery peat, and hints of mango, lemon zest, and almonds. Adding water is highly recommended, and brings out notes of barley sugar, anise, and crystallized ginger. The finish is long and slightly astringent with a gentle peatiness and touches of coconut, almonds, and tropical fruits.

This isn’t a peat monster at all…more like a gentle, furry friend that curls up next to your chair on a cold winter’s night. Excellent! (January, 2020)