Adam Hannett, Head Distiller, says: "When we think of the whisky industry as a whole, we're typically using casks that have been used before. The previous contents of the cask will have drawn a lot of the oak, tannins and flavour out - so by the time we put whisky in, we get a much more subtle impact from the wood.” Find out more about casks.
“Using Virgin Oak challenges tradition, as it's typically believed that whisky matures better in casks which have been previously used. Perceptions around Virgin Oak is that it's too powerful and it will ruin your whisky. And of course if you leave it and don't manage it - it absolutely will.
“When we first tried it [Virgin Oak], we wanted to see the impact of super-heavy peat and this powerful oak, and they just worked really, really nicely because there is such power and presence in those heavy phenols. With Octomore, you’ve got a super heavy peated spirit paired with equally powerful Virgin Oak, the latter of which can be quite dominating” Adam explains, “but because we’re bottling the spirit relatively young, at five aged years, the oak doesn’t overpower the final flavour”
“Each new Octomore series is the opportunity to push myself as a whisky maker, and this small-batch release of 14.4 is no different.”
When it comes to the final release in the 14 Series, Adam continues, “This is the first time we have ever experimented with Colombian Virgin Oak casks, and we had no idea how the super-heavily peated Octomore spirit would take to the oak. We trialled different charring and toasting levels to find the perfect balance, honing our knowledge on these single cask variations and the incredible influence these subtle nuances can have on the final spirit.”