Octomore is a hefty peating experiment. At the time of launch, it had the highest level of peat ever to be found in whisky: 131 parts per million of phenols. Only 6000 bottles were released, and you had to know your shopkeeper very well to get a bottle. I know shops that didn’t even sell their bottles but thought they’d better keep them.
The original price was around € 100. If you want one now, prepare to pay at least twice as much on eBay. That’s a really nice profit for a 5 years old whisky, less than 6 months after its launch.
The Octomore has a magnificent packaging. The bottle is black with a matte finish and shiny black print. Very minimal and an instant classic.
Bruichladdich Octomore 01.1 5y 2001
(63,5%, OB 2008)
Nose: barbecue with olive oil. Some marine notes (seaweed), lemon and heather. Of course, these flavours are dominated by the ashes, the peat smoke and the alcohol. Although, I have to say, the peat is not that huge as I thought it would be. Really tarry though. With water, you get more garage associations: motor oil and diesel. Cigars. Grassy notes.
Mouth: very powerful impact, creamy with a strong peatiness. It’s not often that whisky burns my throat, but this one managed to do it. There is a wave of white chocolate and roasted nuts which I found quite impressive and unexpected at the same time. Very unusual. A bit of salt as well. Tar again. With water, walnuts and lemon. Slightly peppered.
Finish: barbecue with salty liquorice. Long aftertaste, rich and “condensed” peat.
I’m afraid this Octomore experiment was a starting point and the end at the same time, because it’s on the edge of becoming too peaty. There’s no room for further evolution unless they’re going to soften it and allow more flavours – I’m sure a lot of people will find it unpleasant already. Overall I appreciate the experiment and the end result.