Quick mention about letting whisky sit, oxidize, and open up before you drink it:
You’ve heard about allowing whisky to breathe one minute in the glass for every year in the cask? (18 year old whisky; let it sit for 18 minutes). I HATE this rule! It simply just doesn’t apply to the majority of whisky. Especially when it’s peated, especially when it’s cask strength, and ESPECIALLY when you’re opening a bottle for the first time. I remember cracking the 6.3, I let the initial pour sit about 45 minutes before nosing it. I spent around an hour after that drinking it, and the last sip was definitely the best. It needed a good 2 hours to open up, and even then was still tight compared to what it is now with half the bottle gone. (It’s a 5 year old whisky). And what about non age-statement whiskies? How long for them? Some bottles don’t even need time at all. A mid-aged blend (Johnnie Walker Black for example) that has been open for awhile, can be drank immediately after pouring without any diminishing returns. I think you have to judge from experience. More time is almost always better, but please, don’t set your timer and expect best results. Especially with Octomore.
Octomore 6.1 Scottish Barley, 5 years old, 57% ABV, 167 PPM, $200 CAD.
- Nose: Nail polish remover to start but that quickly fades, then an earthy peat, smoky BBQ sauce, cured meats, salomi, and prosciutto. Lemon and lime, vanilla, a sweet floral note, toasted bread, and pepper.
- Taste: Smoked BBQ ribs, hickory sticks, campfire, slight chocolate, and lemon.
- Finish: Powerful, long, and very complex.
- Thoughts: An experience every peat-head dreams of! Relentless layers of strong flavor develop over and over. You get something a little different every sip. I simply love it.
- Score: 92 + 0 value point(s) = 92/100
Octomore 6.3 Islay Barley, 5 years old, 64% ABV, 258 PPM, $170 CAD.
- Nose: Sweet floral thing again, old fashioned hard candy, peaches, buttered corn, lemon, seafood, smoked salmon, oysters, sea air, fresh grass, damp hay, and wet wood/oak.
- Taste: Charred fire wood, hickory, mushrooms, earthy peat, hay, wet rocks, grapes, peaches, and whipped cream.
- Finish: One of the best finishes from a peated whisky I’ve ever had. It hits hard, but then mellows into pure elegance and doesn’t leave. You just want to chew your own tongue off.
- Thoughts: This fits my palate so well! Probably one of the the best peated scotches I’ve ever had. Its got a lot of what the 6.1 has, but much sweeter overall. The earthyness is more pronounced.
- Score: 93 + 1 value point(s) = 94/100
Octomore 7.1 Scottish Barley, 5 years old, 59.5% ABV, 208 PPM, $220 CAD.
- Nose: Again, nail polish remover hits then fades. Hickory wood chips, BBQ sauce, beef brisket, damp hay, new tennis balls, toothpaste, that floral sweetness again, and lemon.
- Taste: Very heavy peated oak, Lemon Heads candy, sour lemon, cherry syrup, pepper, BBQ sauce, Tabasco sauce, cigarette tobacco.
- Finish: Long, powerful, creamy mouth-feel, peat lingers, very complex.
- Thoughts: Undoubtedly an Octomore, but a few different elements in this one. Instead of the main earthy notes, you get more of a tobacco presence which complimented well by the sweeter notes.
- Score: 90.5 – 1 value point(s) = 89.5/100
Octomore 7.3 Islay Barley, 5 years old, 63% ABV, 169 PPM, $190 CAD.
- Nose: BBQ chard steak, earth and mineral notes, sweet grass, damp dirt, sweet fruits, dry lemon, and lemon loaf with icing. Salt and sea air, floral sweetness, caramel, and a nice mescal note.
- Taste: Chard steak, musty damp earth, damp hay, some leather, mint, and ginger.
- Finish: Classic Octomore power and complexity.
- Thoughts: The sweetness and earthyness again mingle in such a unique way. Yeah, not sure I can say much more, another great version of what is the all knowing and powerful!
- Score: 90.5 + 0 value point(s) = 90.5/100
Overall thoughts: I love the complexity and boldness of these whiskies. Each time you go back to the glass you pickup on something a little different. They challenge your senses and force you to really concentrate on smell and taste. The 6.1 and 7.1 Scottish Barley’s give you a little more smoked meat notes, whereas the 6.3 and 7.3 Islay Barley’s bring more earthyness. Every expression here is incredible. They share a lot of similarities, but I think the 6.3 stands out for me. It’s the balance of earth and sweetness that works so well. So so f-ing good!
*In my opinion water does not benefit these whiskies, so I rated without water added. Prices on Octomore vary throughout North America and Europe, my value points are based on what I paid in Canadian dollars.
After my initial score I will add or subtract points relative on how I perceive value (based on what I paid for the bottle). A zero value means I think the price is justified.