The only proper response to a 10 yo whisky that costs between $250 and $300 is “oh, fuck off!”. But here’s a longer review anyway of the Octomore 10, the “prelude” to the first regular release in Bruichladdich’s line of insanely peated whiskies.
Before it’s even nosed or tasted, three things distinguish this Octomore from the ones that have come before–other than the fact that it costs twice as much as those already expensive forbears: 1) it has the lowest peating level in the series at 80.5 ppm–twice as much as most other peated Islays but half the ppm of the new Octomore 6s; 2) it is bottled at 50% and not an eye-watering cask strength; and 3) it is twice as old as the others in the series, which have all been 5 years old.
But what is it like?
Octomore 10 (50%; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: Cereally peat, acidic smoke and lime at the same time. Gets fruitier (some peach and pineapple now) as it sits and also more coastal with brine and sea-shells mingling with the citrus. Alas, a rather strong butyric note arises after a few minutes along with some more appetizing smoke. Let’s see if it burns off. Well, it dissipates but not entirely. With water the butyric note expands again.
Palate: Much smokier on the palate. Lots of lime and sweet peat. Somewhat thin mouthfeel despite being at 50%. More pepper with time and the lime turns into a lemon verbena infusion and something a little tropical fruity shows up as well. A profile quite distinct from the other heavily peated Islays, and reminiscent in some ways of the new Laddie 10 (though whether I would think this if I was tasting this blind is anyone’s guess). Water brings that butyric note into the palate as well but doesn’t bring anything good with it.
Finish: Long. Very smoky but also increasingly sweet. The smoke turns to ash which hangs around for a long time. The smoke gets more acidic with water.
Comments: This is rather nice (but pass on the water) and if it cost $60 I’d be all over it; but at $250 (and close to $300 in some places) they’re really taking the piss. If I had to spend the money I’d rather spend a little more and buy a case of the Laphroaig 10 CS over one bottle of this (or even five bottles of this). Let’s hope the price for this limited “prelude” is intended for the collectors and that the regular Octomore 10 will come in much, much lower than the limited line as the regular Port Charlotte 10 did compared to the limited PC5-10.
Rating: 87 points. (Rating independent of price.)
Thanks again to Sku for the sample! You can read his review here.