Yesterday there was the 6th incarnation of Bruichladdich’s live digital whisky tastings. You buy a sample pack (3x 20cl for around € 60 + shipping) and open them while watching a live tasting streamed directly from Islay. Around 900 kits have been made available, all of which were sold.
#LaddieMP6 featured three single cask Octomore whiskies. Head Distiller Adam Hannett introduced these variations. Sadly I wasn’t able to attend the actual tasting, but I could try the whiskies beforehand so here are my findings.
In case you’re interested, they’ve just announced #LaddieMP7
Octomore 6 yo 2010 (62,2%, OB ‘Micro-provenance’ 2017, fresh bourbon cask #4819, warehouse 14 13H)
Nose: the quintessential Octomore style in my opinion. Big, warm peat smoke (although just 90 ppm). Vanilla and sweet citrus. Youngish, but creamy and thick. A little bread dough underneath. With water: oak dust and a hint of marshmallow.
Mouth: huge smoke, with a thick sweet side but also a gherkin-like sharpness. Mezcal. Gouache paint. Clean but a little numbing without water. Sweeter with water, but other than that, little new developments.
Finish: long, clean, ashtray, lemon and naked mezcal.
Hard to fault, well-made heavily peated whisky. Clearly young though.
Octomore 6 yo 2010 (60,4%, OB ‘Micro-provenance’ 2017, 2nd fill Rivesaltes hogshead #4468, warehouse P2 L12)
Nose: definitely winey, and I’m finding a similar lactic side that I also found in one of this year’s Bruichladdich Feis Ile bottlings. Malty sweetness, ripe melons and blood oranges. Some wet hay and saddle leather. Toffee with water. Interesting how the smoke and youth are much less noticeable here.
Mouth: leathery notes again, with a sourish tobacco note. Candied ginger. Poached pears. Again some red berries in the very end. More smoke, certainly with some water.
Finish: long, bittersweet and drier, with plenty of smoke now.
As with the Feis Ile bottling, this contains some great elements and some that I like less. However the overall impression is more complex and more mature than the bourbon version, so it scores higher.
Octomore 13 yo 2003 (59,2%, OB ‘Micro-provenance’ 2017, Ribera del Duero / bourbon cask #0022, warehouse 12 B12)
The oldest Octomore to date. Nose: that’s more my style. It’s got the sweet custard notes of the bourbon with the fruitiness of the Ribera del Duero. Buttery apples. Vanilla. Wine gums. All very sophisticated. Less peaty and more towards ozone and wet sand. Lemon cake. Nice apricot jam. Fruitier and more fragrant with water, almost floral.
Mouth: still more smoke than expected, but with this combination of apricots, lime and ginger syrup that makes it rather smooth. Leathery peat and vanilla. Some Mediterranean herbs in the end. A little water makes it fruitier and creamier – more on pineapple – rather perfect.
Finish: long, slightly salty, with lingering fruity notes and peat.
Great stuff, this one finds a balance that is only possible with age.