Nov 192012
 

Octomore 1.1

63.5% abv

Score:  89.5/100

 

“Because it’s there.”  Mallory’s famous reply to being asked why he wanted to climb Everest.  I can’t help but think that it was something not too far removed from that simple logic that led to the ‘Laddie folk creating the world’s most heavily peated dram.  More of a ‘why not?’ than a ‘why?’, if you get my drift.  It seems to be just in keeping with that free and easy fun spirit that has defined Bruichladdich from day one.

Now…just as it is debatable whether or not Mallory and Irvine ever reached the summit of Everest, it is also debatable whether or not McEwan and Reynier managed to ‘top out’ on this peat expedition.  There are of course, various camps on this one.  One says that this is a novelty and was a shameless grab for headlines.  The other, and correct ( 😉 ), opinion says ‘Hell no!  This really is a well-made dram!’

Obviously you know where I stand on this one.

This first edition was peated to 131 ppm.  Subsequent releases have continued to up the ante to the point where Octomore 5_169 boasts a whopping 169 ppm phenol payload.  The debates rage on regarding whether or not there ceases to be a noticeable difference after a certain level of nose/tongue peat-blasting.  Not really certain myself, but I can confidently assert that these Octomore releases are a true revelation in terms of peat and smoke adoration.

Nose:  Farmy and oily as f*ck.  Lemon and salt.  Licorice.  Butter.  Hot roads and sour kiwi.  Anchovy.  A very typical Bruichladdich butterscotch.  Sort of one-dimensional without being simple or boring.  Like many shades of the same color.

Palate:  Fire-roasted fish.  Licorice and lemon.  Cola bibs.  Salty.  Very sharp.  Very tight.  Like scouring your tongue with hot coals and dousing the burns in seawater.  Really.  Invincible tastebuds and an iron throat mandatory.

 

– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 6:43 pm
Jul 292012
 

Octomore 2.1084

62.5% abv

Score:  91.5/100

 

I read a review of Octomore, in which the reviewer ponders whether or not Bruichladdich (or more to the point, Master Distiller Jim McEwan) has ‘jumped the shark’ with this one.  Now…those of you ‘up’ on your pop culture references will no doubt be snickering, but for those who are unsure of this obscure reference, let me clarify…

Many years back – when the only bottle most of us were sucking back was full of formula or breast milk – as ‘Happy Days’ (yes…that ‘Happy Days’…y’know…Henry Winkler as the Fonz) was gasping its last breath, the writing team took an inexcusable leap of bravado at the viewers’ expense and put the Fonz in arguably TVs most ridiculous scripted moment…literally jumping a shark.  Time has not been kind to this blunder, and the term ‘jumping the shark’ has become a part of our lexicon.

So, where was said reviewer going with this twisted logic and odd analogy?  Well…with Bruichladdich’s tendency to saturate the whisky world with scores of snazzily-packaged young drams, it isn’t that much of a stretch to think of the Octomore as just another marketing gimmick to capture the anoraks’ attention as ‘the peatiest whisky in the world’.  Jumping the shark?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Gimmickry aside…how does this juggernaut hold up?

To be honest…this is like being slapped in the mouth with chain mail.  Holy hell, what a snarling beast this is.  Massive and earthshaking.  Full of complexity and balance, and ridiculously startling for just this reason.  I expected this to be somewhat of a novelty bottling.  A whisky meant to wear a title, sell a boatload, but not have the stones to back it up.  I was knocked on my ass for my insolence, and happily so.

Like watching a beautiful woman undress, this whisky gets better and better the more it reveals itself.  Pour…inhale…sit back for a few minutes…inhale…close your eyes and dream of far off Islay…inhale.  This slow sensual build becomes almost overwhelming by the time you take your first sip.

Not only is the peat level beyond ridiculous (a whopping 140ppm!!), the Octomore is bottled at 62.5% abv.  It ignites the mouth with its oily viscosity and thick mouthfeel.  The flavors roll on in wave after wave of peat bliss.  It permeates all senses and lingers beyond time.  Cockroaches, Cthulhu and Octomore are all that will remain when life ends.

Aside from the heavy peat and smoke, I find hints of green apple freshness, cola tang, citrus, young vegetal notes and earth.  Being so young (5 y.o.), the oak influence is minimal to non-existent.  I may have to re-visit this review in the future, as I must confess I am just completely overwhelmed with this one and having troubles picking it apart.  And y’know what?  I don’t want to right now.  It is so much more than the sum of its parts and I sort of prefer it that way.

 

– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 3:47 pm