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Duncan Taylor debuts Journey of the Octave line

Independent bottler Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky has launched three single malt sets as part of its new Journey of the Octave range.

Duncan Taylor Octave release from Bunnahabhain
Duncan Taylor’s Octave range includes a peated Bunnahabhain 2014 whisky

The Aberdeenshire-based company has been experimenting with octave casks, which are an eighth of the size of a normal cask, since 2003. It has since released hundreds of whiskies from the smaller casks, which are between 40 to 50 litres.

The new Journey of the Octave range features three whiskies from three regions of Scotland.

The collection includes three whiskies bottled at cask strength: the ‘rich’ Glenrothes 2013 (54.9% ABV) from Speyside, the ‘smooth’ Tullibardine 2013 (53.6% ABV) from the Highlands, and a peated Bunnahabhain 2014 (53.6% ABV) from Islay.

Each tasting set comes with a 700ml bottle of the final liquid, three 30ml whisky samples, one 30ml Sherry sample, one 30ml water sample, and three 10ml aroma samples that show how the flavours develop in the octave casks.

The sets include a pre-octave sample straight from the original cask, a mid-octivation sample and a sample of the final octivation, alongside a 30ml measure of the Sherry that has been used to season the cask.

Each pack comes with a video presentation by Ian Logan, the company’s senior manager of whisky, that breaks down each stage of the whisky’s journey.

The former chairman of Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky, Euan Shand, created the technique during his time as a cooper in the 70s. According to the company, octave casks were used as a way of teaching how to make the larger butts for distilleries, but no one ever used them for whisky maturation. Shand decided to create whisky with the casks, discovering that a second maturation adds character to the flavour profile.

Shand said: “It was a rite of passage back in the day, of perfecting your skill to make whisky barrels. It enhances the process of giving whisky more depth of flavour because the ratio of surface area of wood to volume of liquid is higher. It is now very successful and, as a result, we’ve now ‘octivated’ every distillery’s whisky in Scotland that is in our warehouse. We are seeing a major interest in the portfolio across the globe.”

Since launching its first octave line in 2003, Duncan Taylor has seen an ‘accelerating increase in demand’ in the past two years.

Each set from the Journey of the Octave range is exclusively available from The Spirits Embassy with a limited time offer of £90 (US$115), saving £30 from the original price of £120 (US$153).

At the end of 2023, Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky opened The Club Room in Huntly, Scotland.

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