Jim Murray, the famous whisky writer and author of the Whisky Bible, has a thing for Islay whiskies. This year he awarded Octomore by Bruichladdich the title "Single Malt of the Year" in his 2011 edition of the Whisky Bible. Bruichladdich Octomore follows in the footsteps of the Ardbeg Distillery who won the title three times in a row in the years 2008, 2009 and 2010 with Ardbeg 10, Ardbeg Uigeadail and Ardbeg Supernova. This year whisky guru Jim Murray, having tasted over 4500 whiskies from around the world (that's 12.3 drams a day), awarded the 2011 victor ludorum (latin for "the winner of the games") to Octomore "Orpheus" in his definitive whisky guide, the 2011 Whisky Bible, published last week. Octomore, winner of the title "Single Malt of the Year", is distilled at Islayâ€™s Bruichladdich distillery, and is 3 times more peaty than any other mainstream whisky. Winning 96.5%, Octomore "Orpheus" outperformed other category winners up to 10 times its age. Being only 5 years old, it also won the title of best whisky under 10 years.
"This is no monstrous brute," said Jim McEwan, head of distilling at Islayâ€™s Bruichladdich Distillery, "itâ€™s an iron fist in the velvet glove. Thatâ€™s what you get when you combine massively smokey barley with the purest spirit around. Itâ€™s like nothing else on earth. It also shows what great quality barley, slow, artisanal distilling, and premium quality wood can achieve; it makes a mockery of that assumption that old must equal better."
Unusually, the award-winning whisky was matured in both standard American and premium French oak - the latter from the prestigious bordeaux winery of Chateau Petrus. 15,000 bottles were made of Octomore "Orpheus" from barley malted to 140 ppm and bottled at 61% ABV. The latest release, Octomore 3, is even peatier at an unprecedented 152 ppm and is available exclusively from whisky specialists.