One of the latest Octomore releases, and Jim McEwan’s swan song, from what I understand. This one just hit our shores a couple weeks back. I tried it in a range of eight other Octomore releases at that point, and have since tried it paired with another two (the recently reviewed 4.1 and 5.1).
By now you all know the Octomore story. One of the only 5 year old age stated malts out there…cask strength…uncolored…non chill-filtered…the world’s most heavily-peated spirit. An iconic whisky, if ever there was one, with early releases (and a couple of the one-offs) reaching ridiculous sums on the secondary market. This is a drinking whisky though. Meant to be a cornerstone in any drinking man or woman’s sense-library. Trust me…there is a pre- and post-Octomore understanding of whisky. You’ll understand what I mean once you’ve tried it. This is a whisky that becomes a yardstick for everything after.
7.1 is a wee hop backwards in terms of smoky strength from last year’s behemoth 6.3 edition, which weighed in at 238 phenolic ppm (parts per million). This one is a mere(!!) 208 ppm. If those numbers seem like gross novelty, rest assured that the whisky is actually really good. This one shines a little less brightly than others in the range, but it’s still a good malt and will knock the knickers off the neophytes, if you’re so inclined to show the noobs what real phenols are. Just don’t expect polish here. This one is a little more rough and tumble.
Nose: Cola and chocolate. Peat and smoke. Pie crust. Vanilla coke. Somewhat creamy, but notes of tar and rubber sharpen it up a bit. As do the hints of lemon. Gets beautifully soft with a bit of time in the glass. As soft as an Octomore can be, that is. Pepper and cinnamon hearts.
Palate: Sharp and green on the palate. A little bittering actually. It’s kinda like tart uncooked greens through the development. A slight burnt note. Burnt pastry, I think. Coffee and cola. Lemon rind. A lot of smoke and ashiness. Kinda herbal…maybe tea-ish.
Thoughts: A little less depth than some of the other Octomore releases, but still a rather special malt. Great soft nose, but the palate doesn’t live up to it. Tastes young (and, of course, it is).
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt