Nose: Soft, malty, earthy. Weet-bix with creamed honey. A touch of burnt gingerbread. There’s smoke lingering, but it’s only really in the background.
Palate: Lots of vanilla, and big on the malt-biscuit notes as well. A little bit nutty, and thoughts of wet grass in there somewhere too. There’s also some floral overtones as it passes to the back of the tongue, and wafts of strong black tea turning into a deeply vegetal smoke.
Mouthfeel: Soft, creamy, velvety. Typical Octomore – nearly 60% shouldn’t be this soft!
Finish: The honey hides, and the malt biscuits are now coated in dark cocoa powder, whilst the tea is turning into over-roasted coffee. The length is considerable.
Back to “real” Octomore (sorry Eights/Masterclass series). Back to being five years old – it may sound strange to be celebrating a return to such a young Scotch whisky, but Octomore has never been a whisky that follows conventions.
I’m sure many of you know the drill here – as an Octomore x.1, this whisky was malted from 100% Scottish barley, has been aged for 5 years in ex-Bourbon barrels, is not chill-filtered, has no added colouring, and has been aged a cask strength that this time is 59.1% ABV. The output has been increased to 42,000 bottles worldwide. This release is back to a more “normal” Octomore range of 156ppm.
Bruichladdich is all about transparency and the terroir of their whisky, and as such they seem to release more and more tidbits of information about their whisky with every release. Which is how we know that the barley used in this release was 100% Concerto barley that was grown on the Scottish mainland and harvested in 2011, before being distilled in 2012.
Each and every release of Octomore has a slightly different barrel makeup, although there are some constants in regards to the point releases from one series to the next – x.1 means Scottish barley aged in ex-Bourbon barrels; x.2 is travel retail exclusive, and is usually Scottish barley aged in wine casks; x.3 is Islay Barley – and has had a variety of different cask types; and finally the newest kid in the gang, the x.4 releases have all been virgin oak casks.
The Octomore 9.1 has been aged full term in a variety of ex-Bourbon casks before being married prior to bottling. The makeup of these casks are casks from Jim Beam (51%), Jack Daniels (26%), Clermont (15%), and Old Grand-Dad (8%) .
This is a good x.1 release of Octomore for me – much better than the Octomore 08.1 – although still not up the lofty hights of the Octomore 07.1 or Octomore 05.1; which were both just phenomonal.
Would I Drink It Again?
Absolutely - a solid whisky.