Nose: Caramel fudge, creme brulee, and golden sultanas. Also the vaguest hints of Christmas cake, and the slightest glimpse of roasted almonds. All wrapped in a soft marine note.
Palate: Toffee, burnt cherries, leather, custard, and mixed nuts. There’s a constant presence of an earthy-underbrush smoke, but it never really comes to the fore.
Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy. Absolutely no burn.
Finish: Long and dry. Quite ashy, and a little peppery – but still quite sweet somehow.
This is Bruichladdich’s third release of a ten year old Octomore, and has been bottled with no colouring and no chill-filtering at 56.8% ABV, and with a PPM count of 167. This whisky, like most Octomore releases, is a single vintage release from 2008 – from the same spirit that became 06.2 and 07.4. A total of 12,000 bottles of this whisky were released world-wide.
As part of their drive for transparency in all things, Bruichladdich has released details on the casks that were used to age this spirit – with 37% fully aged in 1st-fill Port pipes, 31% fully aged in ex-Cognac casks, and 20% fully matured in ex-Bourbon barrels. The remaining 12% went on more of a ride, being aged for 3 years in 1st-fill ex-Bourbon casks, then 2 years in virgin oak casks, before spending the rest of their time in refill ex-Bourbon casks.
Despite my personal beliefs that there is no such thing as too much transparency when it comes to whisky, this whisky is almost a perfect example of the opposite being true – and I am in many ways thankful that I sampled this whisky prior to reading much about it. This is a delicious whisky – by far the best Octomore IMO since the 07.3; and yet when I read the cask history my first thought was that this should have been a wet-hot mess. Port and Cognac and Bourbon and Virgin-oak – that shouldn’t work at all! My next thought was “Adam’s a genius”. How he got this to work so well I’ll never understand.
Some Octomore whiskies in recent years have taken the series’ already spectacularly ridiculous peating levels to stratospheric highs, but this one is back down to a less insane 167ppm. This still incredibly high phenol count, along with its aging for ten years, has in my opinion taken this whisky past being a smoke-bomb, to that stage where I believe the peat introduces a sweetness to the palate, and a thicker and creamier feel to the spirit, and just leaves us with a product that is incredibly well balanced.
I may not have been the biggest fan of the previous whisky in “the nines”, 09.3; but with this third release of Octomore Ten Years all is forgiven – and then some. It is a truly delicious whisky!