Octomore 12 series - Peaty and Complex
What's better than spending a Monday night tasting great whiskies? Nothing.. sorry, no discussion possible. And I should know because last Monday I had the distinct pleasure to attend an online tasting of the Octomore 12 series with Bruichladdich Brand Ambassador Nick Baeyens.
We went through the newest edition of the Octomore range, giving our honest opinion and tasting notes to some of the world's heaviest peated whiskies. The inception of Octomore was one of those happy coincidences. Normally the barley would be malted for five days with peat and then it would be brought down to 40 ppm. But at one point it was decided to just roll the dice and see what would happen if they didn't dilute the peat... and that is how Octomore was born.
So did I survive? Yes I did. Was it tough? On occasion but man it was a great tasting.
So here is my honest review of the Octomore 12 Series.
This is a 5 years old Single Malt that has aged on a Bourbon cask and the barley is called Concerto, bottled at 59.9% ABV. The peat is measured at 130.8 ppm and on the nose I get these light vanilla aromas as well as sweet fruity notes. Lovely and dry. Having left the whisky, after a little while the aromas and the flavours have developed into cherry and a lot more wood on the palate as well as some freshly poured tar. Waiting even longer, I finally got this delicate dried mint aroma on the nose, making it nice and fresh.
The Octomore 12.2 is immediately very different from the 12.1 because on the nose I got bacon and rubber, an interesting combination. The whisky itself has this beautiful golden colour, it is also 5 years old Single Malt, aged for 3.5 years on Bourbons cask and finished for an additional 1.5 years on a Sauterne wine cask. It is bottled at 47.2% ABV and the peat is measured at 129.7 ppm. The additional cask enhancement on the Sauterne casks gives the whisky a beautiful sweet and honey flavour. There’s a lot of wood and wood smoke, though it’s dry and soft. In comparison to the 12.1 it is less complex and the additional cask enhancement adds those delicious tannins which create that dry mouth feel.
The bottle of the Octomore 12.3 has a different look (not black) because it is locally sourced Islay barley. This particular barley has less starch and so it makes it less profitable to use but the flavour is very interesting. This whisky is measured at 62.1% ABV and 75% of the whisky was aged on Bourbon barrels and 25% on PX sherry casks. The 12.3 also has this interesting bacon aroma on the nose as well as the soft peatiness that can come through at the end. I had expected this whisky to be much higher on the peat but it was very interesting. It is a spicier dram and after a while the aroma starts to change to smoked pears. In comparison to the other two, this is very meaty, high on umami flavours for me but having left it for a while you can really start tasting that sherry cask. It has this delicious honey flavour on the palate.
This was absolutely and brilliant tasting because I was not expecting that I would enjoy a peated whisky tasting as much as I did. I can’t wait to see what the distillery creates next in the years to come!
Have you had any of these Octomores yet? And what did you think?
Let me know!