Thanks to /u/throzen for pouring a sample of this for me.
A long time ago (by whisky standards, not by, you know, adult standards), the Island known as Islay (which means Island in Gaelic, thus being redundant) decided they needed to know who was the peatiest whisky. Some of the distilleries ignored this call to action, as let’s be honest, while it’s funny, it’s also a dick measuring contest, and dicks are silly and have very little use that requires longer and bigger.
Where was I? Oh, yes. It turns out this silly contest created some nice whiskies. Enter: Octomore. The winner of the most peated, we saw that adding so much peat to something that it makes smoked meat cough made an interesting whisky. Adding this interesting spirit to different casks over the years have given us supercharged whiskies at younger ages. And they’ve experimented with it in pretty interesting ways.
There’s a variety of casks used, including both red and sweet wine casks. There’s virgin oak maturation, quadruple distilled version, and even a Black Arts version of its own. Suffice to say that this went from silly competition to something worth hunting.
For those of you not in the know, the numbers denote what was used and when. Today we’ll be looking at the .2 entry, specifically Bruichladdich Octomore 08.2, the latest .2 to come out.
.2 means that they’ve used a wine cask for either a finish or full maturation. .1 is the standard, .3 is the the ones made with local barley, and .4 means virgin oak.
All caught up? Great. So this one was aged for six years in three different second fill casks: Mouvedre, Sauternes, and Austrian sweet wine. Then they moved them all over to a first fill Amarone cask for an additional two years. It’s not the oldest Octomore I’ve had, however, it should be noted this is older than previous .2 varieties.
Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Stated Age: 8 years old
Casks Used: Mouvedre red wine, Sauternes, Sweet Wine, Amarone
Number of Bottles: 36,000
Colour: 10YR 8/8
Nose: Lemon-lime soda, lavender soap, sugar cookie dough, coconut buns
Initial nose of… not a lot of peat. More a simple lemon-lime soda, followed by floral and sweet notes.
Water brings on more sweet and an interesting note I usually subscribe to virgin oak casks. I’m frankly confused and don’t know what is what here. It’s interesting, while also having some lighter, younger notes to it.
Taste: Plum, cocoa, mesquite, smoked BBQ, papaya
Taste is better put-together. There’s more of the heavy peated aspects here. No lemon now, which I assume was the Sauternes pushing through. Here there’re more simple, port-like influences.
I like the mesquite and cocoa. It’s not too intense, with water bringing out more tropical and smoked meat aspects. Nice to sip on.
Finish: Grapefruit, anise, lime zest, tobacco, butter sauce
Acidic, earthy finish. More of the youth aspects, less intense peat, and a bit of butter.
Where’s the beef, man? Where’s the blast?
Conclusion: It’s alright. Doesn’t have the intensity of past releases. If you’re coming here waiting for something that takes your breath away like previous releases, it won’t.
That’s not to say this is somehow bad. It’s not. I mean, you’ve got a great, if confusing nose. But the rest? Easy sipping, slightly smoky. One very intelligent drinker noted that the older these get, the less peat they have, and the simpler they are getting.
Thus I have a theory about this release: They attempted some interesting whiskies in 3 different casks. None of them really had much oomph, so they did a Hail Mary play on mixing them all together to be vatted into one release. Thus the higher numbers, and the older age.
I’d suspect because the .2 are airport only they hoped it would be swept by with the other… less desirable whiskies that end up lamenting at airports. Sadly we Octomore fans are rabid nutjobs and got one. Oh well. Maybe 9.2 will be better. This one is a skip given the price.
Scotch review #925, Islay review #245, Whisky Network reviews #1477