Monday, November 30, 2009

Once you go black: Bruichladdich Octomore 01.1

So the time has come to introduce the widow maker: Octomore. If you don't fall in love with it then it will probably kill you. At 131 ppm (parts per million) peat this is not for the faint hearted.

The Secretary, El Capitan and myself all first encountered this as a special addition to an evening at a Bruichladdich Tasting (held by Vintage Cellars). Limited to only a dram each I was so impressed I managed to wrangle another glass and so my purchase was set in stone.

Edition: 01.1
Aged : 5 years in American bourbon barrels.
PPM: 131
Launch Edition: 1499
Price: $170 au

BANG! Super complex and no subtleties about it. BIG BIG nose on this one. It permeates the room after a few minutes in the glass. Lot's of mineral overtones. Superior in body with peat the primary culprit.

To taste it is intense, aggressive and brave. A true sipping whiskey. For all the peat it is still very very smooth. Spicy, oily, salty sea air with a iron mineral element. It is not as dry and smokey like the Lady Lagavulin, nor deep earthy like the Ardbeg, but rather somewhere completely different. At 63.5% cask strength this babies got back where even J-Lo's booty cannot compare.

Finish is unbelievable long and intense. Heats the chest real quick. By the end you are feeling it is a real pity when the 1/4 dram has ended (yes you only need a little).

Things of note:
  • You need very very very little in the class to get you through. An easy 20ml is more than enough for an evenings consumption.
  • Leave it till last. Don't think you can have another whisky other than itself after this as your pallet is totally coated.
  • 1hr after drinking have a glass of water and it's ghost comes back to haunt your pearly whites. An amazing experience.
  • You cannot compare it to anything else. You simply cannot. This kind of whisky stands alone.
If I was to give a dram I would certainly rate this as a 7 out of 7. A youthful whisky, full of flavour and body achieving everything so many others fail to even sniff at.

BRAVO BRUICHLADDICH BRAVO! And in the words handed down with the Woolery Tartan 'Make it blacker!'

The Baron von Blacker


  1. The first night I tried it, I was a bit overwhelmed by the peatiness. It was too much. On trying it a second time a month or so ago, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, you have to drink it very slowly. I think your rating is valid, however, I might need a third taste to be sure...

  2. I bought the new Octomore 5.1 (169ppm) as soon as it became available. Being a huge fan of peat, I thought it was fabulous of course but I was surprised that it didn't seem as peaty to me as Ardbeg Supernova (2009) which only has "a staggering peatiness level well in excess of 100ppm". They don't say exactly how peaty it is but it's surely less than Octomore. Perhaps I just prefer the taste of Supernova. It's a masterpiece whereas I found the Octomore to be more of a damn fine work in progress. I highly recommend both.

    P.S. Even though I fell in love with it, I suspect it will probably kill me anyway with all those lovely smoky carcinogens. :-)