You can never go wrong with Octomore, right? We have already talked about the insane peat level and how that doesn’t even matter, since the proces after drying the barley is very important for what kind of peat influence remains in the actual whisky.
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We brought this one to a blind tasting two weeks ago and asked the participants which glass contained a whisky with such a high peat level. Most of them were wrong, and chose an Indie NAS Lagavulin, which is only peated to a level of 35ppm.
The Octomores we tasted so far, were all 203ppm and matured for 5 years. This 08.1 is ‘only’ 168ppm and has matured for 8 years in ex-bourbon casks. Let’s pour ourselves a dram:
Warming and spicy wood, fruity and minerally. Watercolour paint, eucalyptus, bandages, peated barley, hay, moisty vegetation (like an aquarium), peat and vanilla.
Pineapple, orchard fruits, buttery and floral, very oily too, a bit dry on the tongue and a hint of coal smoke.
A fundament of barley and wood, very oily, like fish oil capsules, sweet smoke, dried wood, matches, sulfurous barley, pear, flowers and heather, salty spinach and seaweed, avocado and spices.
While Octomore 07.1 and 07.2 were pretty fruity and vibrant, this 08.2 is a lot more oily and toned down. You’ll have to sit with it for a while to make it flourish. The most memorable notes were the vegetable and vegetation notes, it tastes almost like walking into a moisty rainforest. The fish oil capsule idea is pretty present as well, but that was also the case with the 07.2 and with some other heavily peated whiskies we tasted. I think this is one of the outcomes of heavily peated malts.
Our participants, who were occasional ‘a few glasses per month’ whisky drinkers, didn’t like the Octomore as much as we did. But we were also not as impressed with the 08.1 as we are with the 07.1. This also is the case with 08.2 in comparison with with the 07.2 which had different wine cask influences.
However, on its own, it’s still a great dram and definitely worth the money.