Aged Spirits  

Fahrenheit 173 - Aged Spirits

"If it's not good enough to drink slowly, then it's not worth drinking"

Octomore - the most heavily peated whisky ever!

 15 Jan 2009  

A good friend of mine had the foresight to sign up for a case of Octo­more sev­eral years ago. He re­cently took delivery of the bottles and I eagerly accepted a sample of the potent potion... (Thanks, Lukas!) Here are my tast­ing notes:

Octomore 2002 5 y.o. ("futures" bottling, 46%):
Very phenolic nose with iodine and intense, concentrated peat. Also yeasty and cereally with nice fruity, minty notes. The palate is musty and "dirty" with peat and tar. De­velops malt, sweetness and fruity notes. The finish is nice, peaty and spicy with a note of grilled meat. (84 p)

It was fascinating to try this "peat monster" but I actually found it a little dis­ap­point­ing - it's not as good as the 6 y.o. Port Charlotte or this 5 y.o. Laga­vulin, for example. Hope­fully, Octo­more's bal­ance will im­prove after a few more years in wood... I'll look forward to tast­ing it at 8 or 10 years of age!

Note: In addition to the "futures" bottling, the first regular release of Octo­more was made in December: 6000 bottles - already sold out!

Recently, I've also tasted a few of the new bottlings from Diageo:

Caol Ila Distiller's Edition 1996 (bottled 2008):
Peaty nose, also spicy and fruity (a bit like a bar­be­cued, mar­in­ated steak). Sweet palate, fruity and a little spicy. The peat is subdued at first but grows stronger. All in all it's quite nice but a little too sweet and it lacks the com­plex­ity of the first vintage. (85 p)

Glen Elgin 16 y.o. (58.5%):
Nice nose with notes of orange marmalade, brown sugar and a hint of cinnamon. Rich, sweet palate, at first fruity with citrus fruits, then de­velops spices. Dry, spicy, slightly dis­ap­point­ing finish. (85 p)

Lagavulin 12 y.o. (bottled 2008 at 56.4%):
Nose: Thick, musty peat, also fruity. The palate is sur­pris­ingly mild and sweet at first, with fruity notes but turns spicy and de­velops lots of peat. Very peaty finish with coal and tar. All in all peaty and power­ful but also bal­anced. It's quieter and more restrained than the earlier editions. It's also drier, spicier and more fo­cused. The strong, silent type! =) It's very good - the new whisky of the month - but not quite as good as the 2005 bottling. (87 p)

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