Bruichladdich Octomore 08.1 Masterclass

”Smoke Screen”

Whisky Review # 904

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bruichladdich Octomore 08.1 (167 PPM) - Masterclass
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky - Limited Edition - 42.000 Bottles
Age: 8 Years (2008-2017)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 59.3% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: First Fill Ex-Bourbon Casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 150-180 (February 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎 Too expensive for such a young Single Malt.
Buying Advice: 😐 It's okay but try to find the 07.3 instead!


Golden Sunlight (Natural Color)


Soft despite the high ABV. And the 08.1 is not a Peat Bomb either. Of course Peat and Smoke are there but they're merely weaving a nice background for the other Aromas. The Nose is certainly not spectacular. Even a little plain. It's quite Sweet with a few Sour notes for contrast. A little bit Young, Dirty and Edgy. Make sure to give it a little time in the glass before Nosing and avoid Nosing in the middle of the glass as the Alcohol is more noticeable that way.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Distant Campfire Smoke, Coastal "Wet" Peat/Clay, Lots of Citrus Fruit like Orange and Mandarin, Cafe Latte, Green Bell Pepper, Smoked Bacon, Pepper, Cinnamon, Sour Berries, Espresso and Mint.
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Tar, Brine, Ashes, Iodine, Farmyard, Green Apple, Roasted Pineapple, Wet Stones and Sand, Lemon-Infused Tea, Milk Chocolate, Nutmeg, Rubber, Plastic and Leather.


Peat and Smoke come into play as does the Alcohol. This Octomore is best enjoyed in little sips. It's mainly Sweet with a few Sour notes for balance. It actually tastes quite Young and that's a bit surprising. Young Kilchoman came to my mind. There's a little bit of Plastic around as well. It's not really an off-note but it might not be to everyone's liking.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Malt, Barley Sugar, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Buttered Toast, Cold Campfire Smoke, Coastal Peat/Wet Clay, Tar, Soot, Orange, Mandarin, Green Apple, Green Bell Pepper, Schwarzwalder Schinken, Charred Oak, Dried Herbs, Pepper, Nutmeg and Menthol.
Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Ashes, Iodine, Brine, Wet Grass, Wet Sand & Stones, Gooseberry, Lemon, Farmyard, Caffe Latte, Cinnamon, Ginger, Plastic, Leather & Roasted Nuts (Almonds and Walnuts).


Long and quite Sweet with Dryness developing towards the end. The Alcohol is more noticeable by now. The Spirit coats your mouth in a pleasant way and invites you to have another sip. I mainly find Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Apricot-filled Buttered Puff Pastry, Cold Campfire Smoke, Coastal Peat, Tar, Ashes, Iodine, Soot, Honey, Green Bell Pepper, Dried Herbs, Burnt Grass, Honey, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ginger, Bitter-Lemon, Orange, Menthol, Plastic, Charred Oak & Leather.   

Drinking Advice:

I added Water but this Octomore almost becomes liquid Peppery Smoke. Better sip it neat despite the high ABV.

Rating: 86

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 21.5 - Overall: 21.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Good


Bruichladdich was founded in 1881 by Barnett Harvey. During its history it was mothballed various times, the last time in 1998. In 2012 the Islay distillery was bought by Remy Cointreau (France). Since, Bruichladdich is showing a healthy growth again. The distillery produces 3 types of Single Malt, i.e. the unpeated Bruichladdich & the heavily peated Port Charlotte & Octomore. The basic core range includes Classic Laddie and a 10-year old Port Charlotte. The annual production amounts to around one million litres. About 10% of that is Octomore. Octomore by the way means " The Big Eighth". This is a medieval division of common ground.

The Octomore 08.1 was distilled in 2008 using 100% Scottish Barley from the 2007 Harvest. It matured in First Fill American Oak and the casks were provided by a.o. Buffalo Trace, Clermont Springs, Four Roses, Heaven Hill and Jack Daniels.

After the delicious 07.3 this 08.1 was a bit of a disappointment. It's not bad mind you but a bit plain, youngish and unexciting. No way I would pay over US$ 150 for this Bruichladdich. It's just not worth that kind of money. Don't let the Smoke Screen fool you. It's accepted that most Single Malts tend to get better with time. That's not the case with the Octomore though. It shines brighter in its early years. All in all I would rate this Octomore as merely regular. 


Jan van den Ende                                                                     February 24, 2021

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014

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