Octomore 11.3 Review

Here we go with the Octomore 11.3! Like the Octomore 11.1, all the barley in this release comes from Scotland and all the barrels come from America. More specifically, the barley comes from the Octomore farm on Islay and the barrels come from Jim Beam, Heaven Hill, Jack Daniels and Buffalo Trace… and they’re quite different.

Octomore 11.3 Review

Though is that proof of barley terroir, or is it a byproduct of the additional Buffalo Trace barrels and a 55 ppm peat difference? I’ll leave the terroir conversation for another time, but one thing is undeniable: the 11.3 and the 11.1 are very different whiskies.

Octomore 11.3 – Details and Tasting Notes


Whiskey Details

Region: Islay, Scotland

Distiller: Bruichladdich
Mash Bill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: First Fill ex-Bourbon
Age: 5 Years
ABV: 61.7%

Cask Strength | Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color

Batch: 11 Series
PPM: 194
Bottles: 18,000

Price: $250*

White background tasting shot with the Octomore 11.3 sample bottle and a glass of whiskey next to it.
“Comparing Octomore 11.1 and 11.3 gives one of our finest lessons in stratospheric smoke and barley terroir. While both editions are malted to a Brobdingnagian 100+PPM reading, the differences in barley character from the respective growing region is ever present. Our Octomore Islay barley is grown each year by friend and farmer James Brown, on Octomore farm itself. It is harvested, malted and distilled separately, even from our other Islay barley harvests, in order to become a single field, single vintage single malt.” – Bruichladdich

Tasting Notes


Intense profile of sweet dessert notes layered with smoke: vanilla, buttercream frosting fresh pastry, waxy fruit, cinnamon, honey, peat, lemon peel, gourmet wafer cookies, saline, cereal sweet and a light note of Twizzlers.

Butterscotch, sugar cookies, buttery vanilla wafers, waxy fruit, cinnamon, honey, peat, lemon peel, minerality, cereal sweet and a touch of Twizzlers and bubblegum.

Long -> Peat, decadent dessert sweet, fruit and oil.

Good sense of balance, full body and an oily feel.

Octomore 11.3 – Overall

Nose has the richness and balance of a decadent sweets shop with the sharpness of a brisk coastal breeze and the warmth of BBQ smoke all blended harmoniously together; Palate fits the same profile, but the more it opens the more there is to explore within the layers – it’s comfortingly complex;  Finish is the lightest part, coming off like a xeroxed xerox of the palate.

Like the 11.1, this is a tasty whisky, but more complex and interesting everywhere except the finish.

Octomore 11.3 – Final Thoughts and Score

It’s a tad off-balance with the sweet hanging heavy and, at times, bordering on cloying – which is odd to say about an Octomore release. If it weren’t for the heavy malt and peat it might be too sweet. But it’s there and so we end up with this whisky that’s a demonstration in opposing forces working together to make something delicious.

It’s a well woven tapestry of sweet (delicate  & decadent), coastal (minerality & salinity) and BBQ ( smoky & roasty) notes. Though my favorite part of the Octomore 11.3 has to be the light lemony notes that pop in and out as it opens. With a bit of water that lemon note becomes a bit more present and joins the dessert notes to make something that reminds me of a lemon poppyseed muffin. In short, it’s big glass of yum.

SCORE: 4/5

*Disclosure: The sample for this Scotch review was graciously sent to me by the company without obligation. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.

Octomore 11.3 Label

Bruichladdich Octomore 11.3 Review


Awesome… just an awesome blend of heavy sweet, heavy coastal and heavy BBQ notes that mix and weave together harmoniously. Love it.


  • Nose


  • Palate


  • Finish


  • BBF



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