Elements of Islay, or how to bring out the improbable but nevertheless magnificent tastes of the best Islay distillates.


 Since the 2000s, Speciality Drinks has been publishing its "small" bottles of magic potion with surprising finishes. The principle is "simple": take a distillate from Islay (and they are not lacking) and put it in barrels different from those through which it usually passes to bring out the best and offer it in full proof (by the force of its barrel). Among the elements of the periodic table of the range is the OC designed from the most peaty of whiskies: the Octomore from Bruichladdich.


The brand has already delighted us with the first 5 versions: OC 1 (65.4°) finished in French Cote Rotie barrels; OC 2 (63.5°) finished in Spanish Ribero del Duero barrels; OC 3 (60.3°) finished in bourbon and Sauterne barrels; OC 4 (59.1°) triple finish in bourbon barrels; OC 5 (59.8°) finish in bourbon barrels.

In 2019, the OC stays on bourbon! With an OC 6 at 58.1°, the octomore has transited 8 years in a bourbon barrel of first filling. A real peat bomb and peat to the extreme as we like them. With a beautiful golden colour, it gets impatient in its bottle and only wants to "make an experience in your mouth". As soon as he crossed his nostrils, he announced the color: Oh, you want peat? You're going to have some!


We recognize the Bruichladdich paw with dense smoke and salty notes. Imagine putting out a peat fire with seawater buckets! You say to yourself, "That's it, my nose won't feel anything for the next hour! But this time, it's not to mention, on the Elements of Islay leg: when the nose dives back into the glass as best as it can, it's a surprise, the fruity and sweet aromas brought by the barrel appear: caramelized fruits. In the end, when the nose has become accustomed to this evolution, it detects slightly more intense citrus aromas (a lemon base).


Although prepared by the fleshy nose, in the mouth it is the complete explosion. The peat bomb is there and it remains fed by a peat fire. I don't really remember experiencing such an explosion. Accentuated by the strength of the degree of alcohol (remember here that although OC 6 is the "less" strong of the OC it still titers at 58.1 °) peat is powerful. It completely wraps the palate in a soft lava. However, it lets some peppery notes pass over the foliated taste buds. After a while the smoke dissipates and transforms the liquid into a soft caramelized liquid. The finish is sweet on the palate: it is smooth on the lips and leaves long fruity peaty sensations in the throat.


Nice memory. Every time you taste an Elements of Islay, you tell yourself why their bottles (from the pharmacy as they call them) are so small and in such limited quantities? But isn't that also what makes them so charming? But to use an advertising slogan that the French people of my age certainly know: "small...but strong"!