Bruichladdich Octomore is an odd duck. First off: No feathers. Most ducks have feathers. Second off, I’ve used this joke a few too many times.
In any other situation, a niche product that was meant to take a record would have been a one time product. Think of prototype cars: You don’t end up hearing many iterations of them. You’d hear cool stuff, it sounds like a car you’d want to drive, it probably doesn’t work, there’s no version two, and I don’t end up with a Volkswagen Batmobile that gets 1L / 100 km.
However they didn’t just bring out Octomore and be done with it. Honestly, no one has come close. Yes Octomore keeps getting peatier, older, younger, mixed, quadruple distilled, wine finished, virgin oak matured, and more.
Frankly I’m surprised.
That’s my way of saying I ended up with three different versions of Octomores. Two fairly new, one somewhat legendary by now.
So let’s see how this strongly peated whisky does in different iterations, shall we?
Bruichladdich Octomore 10 Second Edition is one of the oldest Octomores out.
I was somewhat reluctant to ever review this. Why? Well while in Scotland, I ended up trying the first edition. And if I’m being honest, I was so uninspired by it I didn’t review it.
Yes, it could have been my mood, it could have been what I ordered, it could have been the weather, who knows. None the less, I didn’t review it. Do I feel like I somehow failed and all of this was for nothing and no, I’m not overreacting, you are, I’m a fraud? Maybe.
So let’s make up for that. Let’s see how the second edition did, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Cask Type: Fresh Bourbon and Grenache Blanc casks
Colour: 10YR 7/10
Nose: A lit fireplace/ash, green apple, sugar cookie dough, hot cocoa mix
Nice balanced peat on the nose. Bit more to this one than what I remember from the first edition. It opens into some tart notes, and some sweet/earth parts to it.
Not overly peaty, given the high amount used. It’s still there, however for only 10 years, there’s some interesting complexity here.
Taste: Cookie dough, anise, cloves, M&Ms, lime pie, apricot
Quite sweet. Lots and lots of sweet notes, as you can tell from having a tongue and once having desserts based on my notes.
Some spice to it, though this is quite sweet to sip on. Takes over quite a bit. I’ve read that Grenache is known for intense flavours and sweet ones at that, so perhaps it’s taken over a little too much here.
Finish; Cocoa/dark chocolate, green apple, brown sugar/blondies, peach, smoke
Long, lots of chocolate. Finish is still quite sweet, though not as overly powerful as the taste. There’s a good amount of dark chocolate here, which is attempting to balance out the extreme sweetness.
Conclusion: This is quite sweet. And I love sweet things, so that should tell you if you love sweet things, it’s for you, but if you don’t, you should run away, or react in a calm fashion. Your choice.
Lots of chocolate, lots of green apple, and some spice. I feel they are still getting the balance right here. If the last one was too much peat and nothing really going on, then this one is too much wine influence.
Still nice to sip on after a nice dinner.
Bruichladdich Octomore OBA/C_0.1 is the limited release of Ocotomore. It originated during Feis Ile 2016, the annual Jazz and Scotch festival on Islay. The new distiller, Adam Hannett, ran his first Masterclass as a head distiller. Thus he decided to meet expectations by bringing in OBA.
Some people have called this the Octomore Black Art. The idea is similar, I have to say: No information given, wine casks used (supposedly), and a mixture of different casks. However there’s no official statement calling it that, thus we have the name above.
So… that leaves me with little else to say. Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: £95, though now sold out.
Bottle # 118
Colour: 10YR 6/8
Nose: Mexican hot chocolate, shortbread, grilled beef, strawberry
Interesting nose. Some spice, some heat, and some chocolate. That evolves into more sweets, more butter, but also some meatiness. Where the last Octomore was super sweet, this is more balanced.
Taste: Chocolate doughnut, lime pudding (which I don’t think exists), black jujube, burley tobacco
So yes, I don’t know if lime pudding exists. However I can say it has a creaminess that can’t be pulled away from the sweet lime, and that’s what it tastes like.
I looked into different flavour profiles of tobacco in an attempt to improve this particular part of my reviews. It’s lighter, nutty, a little cocoa, and a moderate kick of nicotine. So that’s what it tasted like. Quite interesting.
Finish: Red liquorice, gingerbread, basil pesto, smoke, dry pear
Finish is nice, complex, however has some things that don’t quite mesh well. The herbal and the sweet seem to be diametrically opposed. It doesn’t last too long, and goes quite dry near the end.
Goes in some different directions.
Conclusion: I’ve written about Adam Hannett before, and how I feel he needs some more chances for us, the whisky nerds, to get a good idea of what he’s about. PC10 was great. Black Art 5 was a let down. This adds confidence to how he’s doing.
Is this the greatest Octomore ever? Maybe. It’s certainly more then others, with interesting flavours. I have trouble getting over the finish being somewhat odd and not living up to the rest. And of course, I’m not the biggest tobacco fan, so my bias is there.
However if more and more like this comes out, I’m certainly interested in trying more Octomores as they show up.
Bruichladdich Octomore 04.2 Comus is the second of the X.2 series… Wait, I can’t use that. Bruichladdich literally had a X. series….
Okay, let’s start over.
Bruichladdich Octomore 04.2 Comus is part of the series of wine matured Octomore seried, denoted by a period and a 2 at the end of the name.
Originally the first two Bruichladdich were aged solely in ex-bourbon. However with 02.2 Orpheus, we saw that Bruichladdich was looking to the future, and had finished this particular whisky in ex-wine casks, a favourite of theirs.
After skipping over the 3 series, 4 came out, and I’m assuming the rabid fans of Octomore started demanding another wine cask release of Octomore. Thus we ended up with Bruichladdich Octomore 04.2 Comus. Named after a child of Bacchus who was well known for creating sensual, hedonistic, and intoxicating potions that caused orgies.
These days we’d name a type of Ecstasy after him. Here instead, they used ex-Sauternes casks to finish the whisky.
My thoughts on Sauternes casks can be found multiple times. To be transparent: I usually prefer an extra maturation, and usually prefer them to be quite older.
However please also note I review whiskies with as little information on them as possible, and didn’t know the specifics of this whisky while reviewing it.
So let’s see how this tastes, shall we?
Price: No longer available
Cask Type: Bourbon and Sauternes casks
Bottle # 6017
Colour: 7.5Y 9/6
Nose: Cocoa, strawberry, wine/amaretto, roasted asparagus
Nose with water: Old strawberry, grass, S’mores, caramel
This is one of those odd times where water brings out quite a few changes. Normally I add water and add on flavours, as water brings out one flavour more than others.
In this case, water changes this up. The chocolate notes are more pronounced, the grass notes are there instead of the nutty asparagus notes, and the wine goes to more of a old strawberry/jammy note. Quite an interesting nose, and I took extra time on this to really enjoy it.
Taste: Red liquorice, cocoa, grilled steak, blackberry
Taste with water: More peat, chocolate
Again, we see that water brings out more of the ex-bourbon notes. It starts acting more like the Octomores I’m used to.
Lots of meaty notes without water, and some nice sweet tart. I have a hard time finding a balance here, as I enjoyed the nose with water, yet the taste less with water.
Finish: Blondie, balsamic vinegar, charcoal, lemon pudding
No change on finish with water, which was interesting. Lots of earth notes on the finish. Also that blondie note that I noticed with some of the others.
I’m thinking that with time, a brown sugar note comes out with Octomore.
Conclusion: Extra marks for nose changes with water. While all whiskies have some changes with water, for better or for worse, this one becomes a nearly different whisky once water is added.
I enjoyed the nose more with water, with the sweet elements coming out. Then the taste becomes smoke and chocolate once it’s added.
I have to say the finish is interesting, however I want a little bit more from it. For the short time in sauternes, the young age overall, and generally the fact that this was only the 5th release of Octomore, I’m impressed. I hope some of the future offerings will revisit this one.
Scotch review #775-777, Islay review #182-184, Whisky Network review #1276-1278
1001 Whiskies You Must Taste Before You Die review #352