Let’s do another Octomore today. A few days back we looked at the 4.1. I was going to post this one right after that one, but then…well…Paris happened. Posting anything at a time like that seemed insensitive, to say the least. But today…a few days removed…let’s have a drink to celebrate life and the pursuit of better things to come. Another Octomore. Today, the 5.1.
With this release Bruichladdich have ratcheted up the phenolic ppm a couple ticks (to 169 this time), but the abv has come down a couple of notches. Can we call that a wash? A point up or down on either side isn’t gonna make much difference, I’d argue. These are big, big drams.
5.1 boasts the same credentials we discussed in the previous post. Young, age-stated and offered up in all its natural beauty, blemishes intact. We (being myself, and some of the most consistent and vocal contributors here on ATW) are big fans of this approach. Quite frankly, it’s a whisky lovers dream.
You could argue that the differences from one Octomore to the next are but ‘variations on a theme’, and for the most part you’d be right. What might surprise, however, is just how bold those variations can be. Of course all whisky is essentially putty in the hands of the cask so there will always be variance, but peat this massive tends to mask a lot of the subtleties we usually suss out rather easily in unpeated (or lightly peated) malts. What I’m trying to say is that personally I would sort of expect to see a smaller range of differences between Octomores than we do, simply due to the peaty smokescreen. The reality is, however, that the Octomore expressions I’ve tried (nearly all of them) swing wildly from sweet and creamy to bone dry and ashy. I love that. The quality is high, but there is an exciting array of profiles within the expression. It keeps Octomore fresh and on the radar.
Nose: Rather sharp and aggressive at first. A nice farmy, old school Octomore. Dry and ashy. We’re closer to Port Charlotte territory with this one. Lemon. Some lovely creaminess too. Kinda earthy and boggy…beautifully so. Smoky, of course. The barley shows through somehow. Impressive.
Palate: Dark chocolate. Licorice. Smoke and medicinal notes. Very dry and ashy. Sen-sens. Lime zest. Something that reminds of polished wood. The smoke grows bigger and bigger and explodes in char and wood notes. More licorice at the back end. Bold, not to understate matters.
Thoughts: Nice ‘balance’ of smoke and sweet. A lopsided balance, of course, but held at a point of teetering without actually going over. I like this one. A LOT.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt