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Bruichladdich Octomore 12.1 is the necessary control for the rest of the series, as experiments within an experiment, but our baseline should not be underestimated. Mainland grown Scottish barley is distilled in a patient and considered trickle. The stripped back maturation profile allows a sensory conversation that highlights the cereal-rich, malty notes of this barley-forward single malt. Vanilla, citrus and fudge culminate in an enigmatic challenge to received whisky wisdom.
Nowhere is the dualism of our Octomore super heavily peated series more pertinent than in our .1 edition. Never as expected, delicate but powerful, this is unadulterated heavy smoke balanced with our vivacious and dynamic, fruity and floral distillate. While Octomore in itself does not conform to tradition, our Head Distiller Adam Hannett is inclined to mature Octomore .1 editions solely in ex-American whiskey casks for 5 vibrant years.
Distilled from mainland Scottish barley and kilned to 130.8 PPM – for those phenol spotters out there…
Colour: pale straw.
Nose: I suspect Serge would say ‘millimetric’, so in other works extremely pure, narrow and precise. A blade of seawater, ash and peat – an epitome of good quality, modern, heavily peated whisky. I also find quite powerful notes of whelks charring over coals, petrol and mercurochrome.
With water: rock pools, iodine drops, wet seaweed, burnt sheep wool, coal smoke and bacon fat.
Mouth: what’s excellent is that it’s rather textural as well as very sharp, pure and powerful. I know this sounds silly but it is also quite peaty – which I do not always find to be the case with Octomore where peat flavour often manifests more as seawater, smoke and grapefruit juice.
With water: gets deeper and wider now, smokier, sootier, peatier, more sheep wool oils, dried herbs, dung, roof pitch and raw tar! Finish: long, ashy, briny, citric, petrolic and still with this sense of sizzling bacon fat.
Comments: Octomore at its raw and no-nonsense best. I had it at 89 but water really helps to propel this one along. 90Points