Thanks to /u/dramboy for the sample via /r/ScotchSwap on reddit
This is what Bruichladdich is calling a “concept whisky”. Like a concept car, but whisky. They put out a bottling of regular unpeated Bruichladdich called Black Arts which is a vatting of usually older whiskies matured in all kinds of casks which are never disclosed to the consumer, hence the name. It was started by then master distiller Jim McEwan and carried on by his successor Adam Hannett.
The concept here is to do the same hocus pocus with cask types but using heavily peated Octomore spirit instead of the usual Bruichladdich stuff. It’s a bit younger than the unpeated version, officially an NAS bottling, however one can get more information on the bottling via the website, this stuff is a vatting of several casks the oldest from 2002 and the youngest from 2008 (so technically a 9 year old).
Aged 3 years*. 59.7% ABV. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at batch strength.
*for lack of age statement, but as stated, a vatting of malts distilled between 2002 and 2008.
Nose: Fruit punch. Guava. Toffee. Rich, creamy smoke. Barbecue sauce. Fresh berries. Wine tannins, there’s definitely some red wine going on in here. Milk chocolate. Fresh tobacco. Bubblegum. Slight hint of seaweed on the end. With time the winey notes become more apparent.
Palate: Rich fruity assault on the palate. Tar. Woodsmoke. Plums, nectarines and cherry cough syrup. Wine spices. Nutmeg. Sandalwood. Candied orange peel. Lavender. Clementines.
Finish: Long. Cherry cough syrup. Limes. Bitter citrus. Smoke becomes more typical Islay in character. Lingering red wine spice and fresh green peppers.
Would I buy this: No
Would I order this in a bar: Yes
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes
This was a surprising dram. I’ve seldom found the Octomores I’ve tried to be much more peaty than other peated malts, even their own Port Charlotte, but this one was particularly mellow. This let all the weird cask influences through. It was a very interesting and dynamic dram, there were lots of flavours interacting with one another here, which was the intention.
I found it a little too fruity for my tastes, but still quite a wild ride for the palate, which I thoroughly enjoyed.