Nowhere is the dualism of Octomore, a super heavily peated series more pertinent than in this .1 edition. Never as expected, delicate but powerful, this is unadulterated heavy smoke balanced with vivacious and dynamic, fruity and floral distillate. While Octomore in itself does not conform to tradition, their Head Distiller Adam Hannett is inclined to mature Octomore .1 editions solely in ex-American whiskey casks for 5 vibrant years. 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.
- Opens on zesty citrus freshness and earthy peat smoke. Vanilla sponge cake and barley sugars with rich malt sweetness. Coconut and chocolate, vanilla and caramel follow and as the aromas open further cinder toffee and layers of Peat smoke and honey come to the fore.
Peppery and sweet on the palate, with a texture of warm golden syrup. Honey and peat smoke then fired oak chips and peaty apricot jam open. Another sip brings malted barley sugars and straw, heather flower and a nutty nougat sweetness. A mineral sandy note sits on the palate and brings through a dry phenolic earthy smoke and hints of orange zest and pear drops.
The finish brings salted caramel with floral and herbal notes. Honeysuckle, primrose and then gentle peat smoke, as ever, the note that drifts on the longest.
Vibrant, punchy and lively initially and then opens up to reveal layers of complexity, instilled through slow distillation, careful maturation and cask selection. A dram that rewards those who seek to discover the mysterious, enigmatic whisky that is Octomore.
Earthy smoke and hints of orange zest and pear drops.
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