Nose: Rich, smokey, sweet, and dark. Like opening the lid on a barbeque after you’ve left a rack of lamb glazed with berry jam on the grill for just a touch too long. Jammy (mixed berries), meaty, and a little ashy.
Palate: Straight up, this is quite a dark, closed whisky; with ash, meat juice, some cloves, and pepper, being the mainstay on the palate.
Add a dash of water though and you get a whole lot of tart raspberries and sour cherries on the palate. The ash turns more earthy and medicinal – going from barbeque to beachside camp fire. A touch of cocoa appears, although the pepper is still quite prominent.
Mouthfeel: Not the heaviest Octomore ever, but it still has some decent heft to it. A little oily, a little zingy, but only the barest hint of alcohol burn despite the ABV.
Finish: Sipped straight, the finish is dry and spicy – with some chilli and pepper joining the cloves, and just a hint of that meatiness hanging around.
If taken with a dash of water though, the spiciness dials right down, and thick jammy red fruits join the party, but it’s still quite a dry and dusty finish. Either way, this is a whisky that hangs round for a decent amount of time at the back of the throat.
Similarly to the Octomore 9.1 (they were distilled one week apart from the same batch of barley), The 9.2 has been peated to 156ppm, aged for 5 years, and has been bottled at a cask strength – in this case 58.2% – with no chill-filtration and no added colouring. Only 12,000 bottles were released worldwide.
The Octomore 9.2 was aged for 4 years in ex-Bourbon barrels before being finished in second-fill ex-Bordeaux red wine French oak casks for a further year.
This is one of the most different Octomore releases that I think I’ve ever tried. From the unusual spiciness – not something I can recall being a big presence in past releases – to what is probably the biggest difference I’ve ever seen when adding water to an Octomore. Normally I find that a splash of water doesn’t really change most Octomore releases much at all, but this one grabs a new hat and sings a different song.
I’m not going to say this is one of my favourite Octomore releases, but it is interesting, and intriguing, and different – and not at all bad. And sometimes that is exactly the order of the day. For probably the first time ever though, I would recommend a splash of water in your Octomore.