Review: Oc1 - Elements of Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

French Wine Cask
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Bruichladdich (Bruichladdich, Scotland)

Elements of Islay sources different Islay single malts and blends them together, labeling them with names similar to the source distillery without ever explicitly saying where it is from. A lot of their stuff is terrific (though expensive). Oc1 comes from Octomore, Bruichladdich's most heavily peated malt, the most heavily peated single malt in the world.

Generally, Elements selects 5-20 casks from a single distillery and bottles them all without age statements, with a desire to show the medicinal side of Islay...

Review (2016)

  • Batch: Oc1

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2015

On the nose – what is that? Milky tea? The peat isn’t immediately what comes through –  burning leaves, burnt chickpeas, vanilla, spicy grass, fresh dry hay, white raisin, dark cacao, iodine, seaweed, rockpools, seashells, marsh, raw wet dirt, almond, the sharp apple note of Fino sherry- and none of this in a detracting way…a fascinating mix of vegetal/earthy/medicinal/mineral flavours. Absolutely remarkable.

On the palate – WOW. This fully covers and massages the tongue at full strength, and isn’t spicy or too hot – but rather simply full of flavor and it sits together very well. Remarkable, very…brine, milk chocolate, ash, almond, orgeat liquer, that slight spicy note you get with fresh hay – more grassy on the palate than on the nose. The sweetness level is perfect, and how I love the earthiness in this peat. Mmm.

The finish is incredibly long, and sweetens with time. Chipotle, spicy tomato relish, minerals, light ash…dried chickpeas, burning leaves, rockpools…absolutely stunning at the full strength.

Exceptional (3% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date receive this, my highest recommendation).

Value: Low. Even for such a good whisky, you have to pay a pretty penny for this.