Bruichladdich Octomore Distillery Bottlings Tasting Notes

Posted: August 25, 2011 in Bruichladdich (Octomore), Scotch Whisky A-G

Octomore New Make

(Distilled 7/11/03, sample drawn 5/5/04)

Whoar, this is an altogether different animal. Very complex even at this young stage. It is deeper, more intense and oiler than the Port Charlotte. It has a remarkable cereal sweetness and huge globs of earthy-peat, soil and dunnage floors. Fat and rounded but still with that characteristic Bruichladdich delicacy.

A small drop of water brings out its animal/ farmyard nuances and tames the peat, making it more earthy in character. The finish is stunning, it last and lasts. Once this had had a bit of oak influence it is going to be a storming malt – Can’t wait!

Bruichladdich Octomore 01.1 5 year old 63.5%

Bourbon/ Tasted: Dec 2002

An oily and intense nose. Deep and multi-layered – botanical-peat, manure-peat and spic- peat.  A real example of the complexity of peat. Just like the new make the classic laddie notes of apple, citrus and honeysuckle are all still prevalent as they meld into the peat. With time some chocolate and mocha notes appear.

The palate opens with oily coal/ peat dust before moving into fishy/ briny and maure. The lightly citrus spirit shines through and the alcohol is seriously intense. Damn the phenolics hammer the tongue and it is definitely coal scuttle, tongue coating, oily peat all the way. Once the eyes have stopped watering there is some lovely burnt wood notes and the intense coastal finish is flecked with honey, apple and vanilla. However the after taste is still pure, unadulterated peat!

With water the nose is more youthful and even more oily with some herbal/ botanical notes, yet the sweet manure and oily toffee and burnt wood aromas are still there. The palate is still pretty full on. Smoky and dusty and exceedingly oily. The palate is saturated in an oily-peat residue. Incredibly rounded for such a young spirit, which is helped by the addition of some oak character now. An absolutely amazing finish, it must linger for over 5 minutes!

Bruichladdich Octomore 02.2 Orpheus 61%

Peated to 150ppm, finished in Chateau Petrus casks.

Tasted: Nov 2009

Wow, you don’t even have to put your nose in the glass to smell the peat reek! It fills the room! However it is surprisingly soft and very civilised. The wine finish is relatively subtle adding a pure red berry note along with a beguiling sweetness. Stunning integration. The peat aromas are incredibly complex – Of the bog myrtle, iodine, fish, light tar and creosote variety.

Soft, almost gentle opening, leading out with red berries fruit followed by the peat, bog myrtle and iodine. Like the nose the peat flavours have an amazing complexity, starting out quite coastally before moving through a lovely, crumbly sweetness until it becomes more coal dusty in character. Although the alcohol is quite high, it is well integrated and behaves. The length is stunning, the peat rumbles on majestically accented by fishy notes. The peat really coats the mouth and leaves and almost gritty after taste.

A drop of water emphasises the fishy/ rubber characteristics of the peat aromas. The wine notes are sent to the back as a lovely tangerine/ satsuma note appears along with some wood notes. The peat has developed a lovely sweet edge. Whilst in the mouth the delicate oils shine and it’s youthful cereal side can be discerned, as can hints of fisherman’s friends, menthol and carbolic. Either with or without water, this is a stunning whisky!

Bruichladdich Octomore 04.1 (5 year old) 62.5%

Bourbon/ Peated to 167ppm/Dist: 2006 Btl: 2011/Tasted: Aug 2011

Limited to 15,000 bottles worldwide

The nose, as expected is extremely phenolic with a lovely density of peat aromas, bog myrtle, heather and mint. Beautifully robust with some cerealy-barley, seaweed, mint, and seriously crisp, briny white fruit. With time some perfumed white flower (lily) aromas appear along with an earthy/dunnagey note.

The palate is robust with a slight sweet entry. Although it’s very heavily peated the peat flavours are surprisingly gentle, but they do build into a dusty alcoholic mouthful, and when the full force of the slightly medicinal, bog myrtley peat and alcohol hit, you really know about it! The nascent oak character sits beneath, adding body and the finish is exceptionally long for such a young spirit.

With water the nose becomes more oilier and shows more of its youthful cereal side. The peat has now taken on a wonderful sweetness with some hints of manure and rubber. The palate likewise is sweeter and oilier with more emphasis on the the lovely soft fruits. The peat has taken on a more woody dénouement, but it is still pretty intense, leaving an oily/ briny coating to the mouth and finishing with a dry salty twang. Seriously good stuff!

Octomore 04.2 (5 year old) ‘Comus’ 61%

Sauternes Matured

Tasted: Mar 2012

A wonderfully intense nose of briny cereal, oat cakes, ozone and those unmistakable Laddie aromas of apricot, white fruits and apple float above a dense core of rich Sauternes honey. The peat has a rich, full character opening with a pure loam/ earthiness before moving into damp leafy earth and freshly extinguished embers. Seriously deep! Seriously good!

The dry, young, cerealy, pure spirit and alcohol hit the palate first. Yes I think we’re in for bit of a wild ride here! Very complex, the character unfolds in non-stop waves, now there’s coal dust, light tar; white liquorice followed by intense crunchy barley, malty, sweet digestive biscuits. Then we’re into the heart of the spirit (the peat) – light treacle, creosote, rubber, burnt, almost scorched earth, then wet leaves and damp, loamy earth. Damn, that’s an unbelievable hit. It’s like a speeding bullet, the flavours arrow into tongue. The last time I experienced such a profound intensity was when tasting the Stagg! Very long, mouth-coating oily finish, exiting with a salty finale.

With a drop of water, the nose becomes a tad gentler, with more fish oils and perfumed white flowers and violets showing. The peat has become beautifully placid now, which allows the purity of this spirit to stand out. On the palate the sweetness from the Sauternes has diminished somewhat leaving the apricot and fleshy apple all wrapped up in an unsweetened barley mix. Definitely more subtle now as the peat softens too. It’s less of an all out attack and more of a gentle meander now, with a touch of grippy oak at the death.

Bruichladdich Octomore 06.1 ‘Scottish Barley’ 57%

Peated to 167ppm/ Tasted: Sept 2013

Huge slabs of earthy, woody, phenolic peat with mulched undergrowth and manure. In fact that’s a lot of manure, an entire cowshed full of the stuff! Hints of decomposing heather, straw and reeds, but there is some sweet barley, violets and coffee grain notes as well. However, as per usual it’s the complexity of the peat aromas that steals the show. Now it’s becoming quite crumbly and spicy. Profound and wild yet elegant and fresh with plenty of sea salt.

The palate is soft and fleshy, opening with the sweet barley and light coffee. However the peat arrives in layers, initially it’s violet scented, then earthy and maritime, then oily and tarry. It’s like tasting a layer of freshly cut peat! Very sooty on the middle with barley husks, damp straw, loam and dark treacle. That treacle sweetness infuses the peat and coastal astringency adding some balance. The alcohol masks the finish a little but it’s a seriously sea salt encrusted after taste.

A drop of water supresses the wild vitality of the nose big time! Quite oily with only a wisp of peat and manure. The palate likewise has lost its intensity and is a lot less complex and peated. For best results drink neat!

Bruichladdich Octomore 06.1 ‘Scottish Barley’ 57%

2014 Batch Release (?)/ Re-Tasted: Dec 2014

The nose is youthful and oily opening with brightly lemon aromas followed by the earthy, medicinal peat. A touch of manure, coffee appears and the peat starts to turn dusty. Quite lean, fresh and crisp with more citrus and coastal notes coming through.

The palate is again youthful and oily, opening with the distinct lemon notes. The dusty peat, smoke, medicinal herbs, bog myrtle and salinity build. Very intense but not as complex as I remember. Good dry finish with hints of tarry peat, creosote and dusty peat notes.

With water the nose becomes a little flattened and it emphasises the youthful oiliness. Still showing a good degree of manure and peat, with a little sweetness now to the peat. The palate shows more lemon and barley, whilst the peat is relegated to the background. Earthier possibly, but the finish is still dry and very salty.

Bruichladdich Octomore 06.3 ‘Ochdamh-Mor’ Islay Barley 5 year old 64%

Peated to 258ppm

Tasted: April 2015

Pungent, briny and fishy aromas with medicinal peat and crisp, white fruit. Hints of manure, creosote and oily peat along with bog myrtle and lashings of coastal notes follow. Very fresh and bracing with underlying oak and barley.

The palate is fairly woody – burnt drift wood and green oak notes. Some uber concentrated lightly medicinal peat and oily, tarry peat follow. Hints of sweet barley inject a little sweetness but the brine and the bog myrtle counter. Long and mouth-wateringly intense. Lovely after-taste of green oak, bog myrtle and dusty, sooty peat. Intense isn’t the word for it.

A drop of water makes the nose into manure city! Vegetal cow poo, violets and bog myrtle. The peat reek has probably become more oily and creosoty! The palate is oiler and displays more of the barley character. The peat is still there but it’s sweeter. Lightly chocolaty with just a touch of manure. Mouth-coatingly oily finish with tarry rope, hemp and chicory notes coming through on the finish along with some violet peat as well. Oooh that’s damn good!

Bruichladdich Octomore 06.3 Islay Barley 64%

Re-Tasted: July 2015

Nose: Thick and weighty aromas of ‘beery’ malt, coffee, dark chocolate, boiled sweets and rye-like herbal notes. It may be young and very alcoholic but the aromas are not spirity. Did I mention the peat? Well, its tarry, oily, fishy and viscous in its intensity. Water makes it feel younger and more herbal.

Palate: Intense, alcoholic and malty with beef extract, herbs, tar and thick slabs of primal, oozing, oily peat! Water brings out a barley sweetness along with some earthy, straw-like grappa notes, but it’s still very malty and peaty.

Finish: Eye wateringly alcoholic! But the malt, sooty peat and coastal oils stick to the mouth like glue and my god those flavours take minutes to dissipate!

Conclusion: If George T Stagg was peated then it would probably be like this. There is only one Scottish whisky that tastes like this and if you don’t like peat, then step away from the glass now!

Bruichladdich Octomore 07.4 Virgin Oak 61.2%

Tasted: June 2016

Nose: Huge chunks of gritty oak and primal, botanical, medicinal herbs, iodine, camphor, bbq smoke, charred oak and rubber. The peat is relatively compressed and sooty. The treacle notes add some balancing sweetness.

Palate: Surprisingly well balanced with smoky oak and sooty peat. Very herbal with almost astringent camphor laden peat. The alcohol powers through on the middle but again the treacle sweetness balances. Hints of charred oak, bbq meat and tar follow.

Finish: Stunningly long, with a wonderful salt encrusted finish. In fact I could still taste it 10 minutes later!

Conclusion: Now I wonder what this could be! Water makes it a little sweeter and smokier, but just like the George T Stagg, it has to be experienced as nature intended. i.e Neat!

Bruichladdich Octomore 10 year old (Second Edition) 57.3%

Tasted: Dec 2016

It’s Octomore, so it must all be about the peat, but, by Octomore standards the peat is relatively subtle, mind that’s like saying the peat in Laphroaig is subtle. However underlying the earthy, coffee’d, tarry and medicinal peat is some mature-ish baked apricot, apple, salt and vanilla.

The palate is quite malty to start with, which along with the coffee’d and dark chocolaty wood tannins, holds the peat in check, so to speak. However it comes through in waves of alcohol enhanced intense, earthy, peaty, salty goodness. Very long with lingering peat, malt, salt and medicinal herbs. Very coffee’d after-taste.

Water emphasises the malt and fruit on the nose. Hints of violets and perfumed honeysuckle emerge. On the palate it emphasises the coffee-malt. It’s softer and rounder, still quite peated but more dunnagey note. Salty and citric with grainy spice and a little bitter oak, violet and honeysuckle on the finish.

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