Bruichladdich: Octomore 8.3

Bruichladdich Octomore 8.3

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Nose: Malty, with oodles of honey and vanilla. Smoked meats and canned pears round out the nose for me - apart from the volcanic blast of smoke that is released when you first pop the cork. Palate: If you like smoke, you'll love this whisky - I'm not just getting your usual campfire smoke or peat-bog embers or your charred soot/tar smoke - but all three as separate and distinct flavours in your mouth at once. A little bit spicy and bitter at the front of the mouth - like a mixture of over-roasted coffee and seaweed; it settles down…

Would I Drink It Again?

Total Score

For sure - this is a pretty good whisky.

Bruichladdich: Octomore 8.2

Bruichladdich Octomore 8.2

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Nose: Red berries, mixed berry jam, plums; sweet, but not sugary - more of the fruit smoothie sweetness than the dried fruits often talked about with sweeter fruity whiskies. Also notes of honey-laden fruit salad with melons, grapes, and apples. Plenty of fresh clean campfire smoke intertwined with all the fruit. Palate: All that sweet fruitiness from the nose has marched right along to the palate. The smoke is now even more present, and has brought with it some BBQ jerky. A little ashy, with just a hint of dark chocolate. Mouthfeel: Thick. Oily. Creamy. Everything you dream a whisky…

Would I Drink It Again?

Total Score

Absolutely. This is a stunning whisky!

Bruichladdich: Octomore 8.1

Bruichladdich Octomore 8.1

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Nose: Fresh citrus, vanilla, quite herbacious. Plenty of smoke as you'd expect from an Octomore, although there's also notes of iodine - which depsite being common with Islay malts, is not a common note for me with Octomore. Palate: Citrus an melons are present, although almost drowned out by big notes of vanilla, and big punching earthy and grassy notes. Plenty of smoke encapsulating the whole thing. Mouthfeel: Mid-weight - which is honestly a bit light for an Octomore. Not a lot of burn despite the alcohol percentage. Finish: Long, earthy, with a perppery spiciness to it. There's also this…

Would I Drink It Again?

Total Score

Yes. Probably wouldn't buy a bottle though - there are a lot of other Octomore releases that I like a fair bit more.

Riverbourne Supremacy (Batch 4)

Riverbourne Supremacy Batch 4

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Nose: It's quite sweet on the nose - almost jelly lolly sweet. Quite a decent dose of moss and eucalyptus notes as well. The nose reminds me of opening a bag of fruit gummy bears down by the lake after a BBQ as a kid. Mouthfeel: It's a bit of an interesting mouthfeel on this - its a medium-weight whisky, nowhere near as thick and meaty as say a Bruichladdich, but it feels like it's got a solid strength behind it. It may only be a mid-weight, but it is viscerally there, and doesn't dissipate no matter how long you…

Would I Drink It Again?

Total Score

Most definitely - this is a fantastic whisky.

Puni Alba (2016 Batch 1)

Alba Puni

Nose:  Spicy, dried fruits, mixed herbs, dates, and smoked almonds.

Palate:  Earthy, herby, a little spicy – also a little sweet.  There are some berry and plum notes.  Some faint cereal notes – a mixture of Weet-Bix and All-Bran.  Traces of the peat casks that some of the whisky was slumbering in hang around.

Mouthfeel:  A decently medium weight in the mouth with a soft and silky feel.  A slight alcohol burn.

Finish:  This whisky has a fairly long finish.  Spicy, full of peat, and the earthy notes from the palate continue right through.

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This whisky is a non-age statement un-peated Italian blended whisky that was aged in a combination of ex-Islay peated Scotch whisky casks, and Marsala wine casks.  It was bottled at 43% ABV with no added colouring, and no chill-filtration.

This is an interesting whisky; a blend of malted barley, malted rye, and malted wheat that was aged for three years in Sicilian ex-marsala casks before being finished in ex-Islay peated Scotch casks.  The spice from the rye is quite prominent throughout, as is the peat notes from the peated ex-Islay Scotch casks that it was finished in.  There is also a sweet fruitiness that lasts most of the journey as well, undoubtedly from the three years it spent in the Sicilian wine casks.

Although I first tasted this whisky at Whisky Live, it is hard to truly appreciate a whisky when you’re drinking that many of them so close together.  Never the less, it captured my attention, and after acquiring a bottle of it, I presented it in a couple of European whisky tastings that I held – where it was generally warmly received.  Although it was against some other intriguing competition from Goldly’s (Belgium), Slyrs (Germany), Millstone (Netherlands), Floki (Iceland), Mackmyra (Sweeden), and Santis (Switzerland); there were a few people that rated it as their favourite, and most people thought it was reasonable or better.  After the tastings, I sat down with what was left and gave it some due consideration on its own.

If you haven’t seen a picture of the Puni distillery, prepare to be amazed – the distillery building is more what you’d expect from a modern-art gallery than a whisky distillery.  Absent are the pagodas and chimneys, present is an almost mesh-like cube situated in the idyllic countryside of the northern Italian Alps.  The distillery gets its name from the nearby Puni river.  The surrounding region has been growing rye since the times of the Roman Empire, and it is this rye that Puni has malted and used in this whisky.  The amazing cube distillery building houses not just the distillery, but also warehousing where some of the Puni whisky slumbers, whilst the distillery also uses abandoned WWII-era underground bunkers to age the rest.

Whilst I could not say that this whisky has been one of my favourites, I am by no means going to struggle to finish my bottle of it – it’s both a pleasant whisky, whilst also being full of character.  The world would definitely be a better place if more whiskies had both of these attributes.

Nose:  Spicy, dried fruits, mixed herbs, dates, and smoked almonds. Palate:  Earthy, herby, a little spicy - also a little sweet.  There are some berry and plum notes.  Some faint cereal notes - a mixture of Weet-Bix and All-Bran.  Traces of the peat casks that some of the whisky was slumbering in hang around. Mouthfeel:  A decently medium weight in the mouth with a soft and silky feel.  A slight alcohol burn. Finish:  This whisky has a fairly long finish.  Spicy, full of peat, and the earthy notes from the palate continue right through. [divider] This whisky is a non-age…

Would I Drink It Again?

Total Score

Probably; I may even buy another bottle - although it's worth noting considerable differences between batches.

Glenfiddich: XX

Glenfiddich XX

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Nose:  Christmas cake with maraschino cherries and plenty of brandy soaked sultanas.  Quite sweet - heading towards the golden syrup end of the sugary spectrum.  Also some vanilla, and hints of some sweet spices. Palate:  Sweeter and less fruity than the nose - also a lot less heavy than the nose would suggest.  A few sultanas are still to be found, although they seem to have dumped the brandy.  A little nutty as well, and just a trace of vanilla. Mouthfeel:  Surprisingly light in the weight department.  Despite the higher alcohol, there is only a very very slight tingle on…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

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Bruichladdich: Port Charlotte Scottish Barley

Bruichladdich Port Charllote Scottish Barley

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Nose: Smoky, sweet, salty - quite coastal.  Hints of citrus - mainly lemon; and traces of nature reserves (from where I grew up).  Quite soft and subtle for the peat level. Palate: Smoky and salty, vanilla and lemon - a slightly floral hint lurking too.  The smoke is clean and bushfire-like rather than the usual Islay medicinal peat.  the smoke levels are consistent with what you'd expect from the peat levels of this whisky, but the rest of the palate is remarkably mild and smooth.  Somehow the palate is both delicate and solidly heavy at the same time. Mouthfeel: Thick,…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

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Palate
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Bruichladdich: Octomore 1.1

Bruichladdich Octomore 1.1

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Nose:  Salt, seaweed, hay, wood shavings, and fresh malt.  Also some aniseed, and wet tar. Small hints of icing sugar and sherbet are also there. Palate:  Brine, peat, straw, jalepenos, mixed beer nuts, and well-charred barbequed meats.  Did I mention the brine and the peat?  They make up the majority of the flavour. Mouthfeel:  Mid-weight, and quite oily.  Quite a bit of burn. Finish:  Salty, extremely peaty, and barbeque ash.  Quite a long finish, with a decent amount of burn.  The finish is surprisingly dry considering the mouthfeel is so oily. Balance:  It's not really balanced at all; sweet and…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

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Palate
Mouthfeel
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Bruichladdich: Octomore 2.1

Bruichladdich Octomore 2.1

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Nose:  Brine, lemon, recently mowed grass, peat, and polished wood.  Also traces of freshly oiled leather, and a slight hint of green apples.  Quite fresh and light. Palate:  Sweet malt, grass, burnt barbeque marinade, mixed citrus lollies, and fresh mint & other herbs.  There's a thick layer of strong and sweet peat blanketing everything.  Quite creamy. Mouthfeel:  Slightly less thick than the 1.1, but still what I'd say is mid-weight.  Slightly dry and creamy.  A small amount of burn, but quite a bit less than the 1.1. Finish:  Reasonable length, but shorter than most Octomores.  Quite sweet.  Fresh grass, lemon…
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Bruichladdich: Octomore 2.2

Bruichladdich Octomore 2.2

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Nose:  Wet timber, moss, ripe grapes, and mixed red-berry jam.  Also, unusually for an Octomore, there is quite a prominent amount of newmake spirit and paint-stripper on the nose.  Also a hint of some portwine jelly.  Given a bit of a breather, the paint-stripper and newmake spirit dies right off, with the berries and jelly becoming far more prominent. Palate:  Very sweet, with a hint of peat.  The grapes and mixed red-berry jam from the nose are quite bold on the palate.  Thankfully the paint stripper has departed, although there is still a hint of some newmake spirit at the…

The Ninja's numbers - A completely subjective score.

Nose
Palate
Mouthfeel
Finish
Balance