If you take a look through the blog you’ll soon figure out we have a love of Bruichladdich, more specifically “The iron fist in the velvet glove”. This makes it a no brainier that’s we’d review the new range of Octomore 12.x bottlings.
First up is 12.1, a 5 year old that was matured in first fill bourbon barrels. The barley for this release was malted to 130.8 ppm.
On the nose we’re getting milk, plastic, butter, a little sulphur, cream, pepper, and cereal. This isn’t as peated as we expected and while the smoke and peat are there, we’re getting a dominant costal note.
Palate has peat smoke, caramel chocolate sundae, chilli, black pepper, blood orange and dark chocolate. There’s also a strong earthy/mineral note that pushes past the sweeter notes.
With water we’re getting citrus, maltiness, and a lighter peat than pre-dilution. There’s also a mustiness, some tar, and melted butter.
Water mellows out the peat and brings along a tobacco note. There’s also some burnt sugar, with the chilli and black pepper notes becoming more prominent. Finish is medium length.
This is definitely not our favourite of the x.1 Octomore releases that we’ve tried. It’s not a terrible whisky, but it’s missing some of the sweeter notes that we enjoy from the prior bottlings.
Ok, so next up is Octomore 12.2. This release is a mixture of 1st and 2nd fill bourbon casks, that after three and a half years were re-casked in Sauternes casks for a further eighteen months. Sauternes is a French sweet wine from the Bordeaux region for those who are unaware. The ppm on this one is 129.7.
On the nose we’re getting earthy smoke, honey, citrus, peat, tobacco, s’mores, vanilla, oats and caramelised brown sugar.
Some ash, grapefruit, and a mineral note that’s similar to the 12.1, but is less pronounced on the 12.2. Bonfire smoke (but less than expected), peat, tobacco, grape juice, apple, and verbena.
With water the peat recedes and this becomes more minerally and musty. The water seems to have given it more of an alcohol bite. There’s also sea salt, a fresh breeze and some toffee brittle.
Water opens this up, the bonfire smoke and peat are intensified, but the water has also amplified the sweeter notes. With vanilla ice cream and melon shining through.
Honestly, the 12.2 was the release we were most looking forward to. Like most people it’s hard not be hyped for another Sauternes release after the 04.2 Comus. So does this deliver? In a word yes. After the disappointing 12.1 we’re back on the track with the 12.2.
Finally we have the 12.3, this was distilled using concerto barley from Octomore farm that was malted to 118.1 ppm. 75% of this release was matured in 1st fill bourbon barrels with the remaining 25% have been matured in 1st fill PX sherry butts from Fernando De Castillo.
Nose opens with dark chocolate covered raisins, tobacco, warm butter, porridge oats, vanilla, and a touch of plastic.
On the palate there’s black tea, tar, and smoked lemons. The peat, and smoke is there but it’s not overpowering. Chilli, pepper, and ethanol on the finish.
With water the nose gains charred bacon, some toffee and a mustiness. The plastic note is also a little more pronounced.
Initial hit of salt, and charred meat. Water has tamed some of the peat. The ethanol and chilli are still there, but less aggressive. There’s also some tobacco and mild toffee notes. Long finish but it’s dominated by hot chilli and ethanol with a little lingering peat.
Our least favourite of the three releases. We were really looking forward to seeing how the sherry impacted this release, but were disappointed with the end result. The sherry is evident on the nose, but not particularly distinguishable on the palate. Additionally, the hot finish lets this one down.
And the winner is...
The 12.2 is the clear winner out of these bottles. Both the 12.1 and 12.3 fall short of previous releases. The 12.2 is definitely worth a purchase, but If you’re looking for a purely bourbon matured Octomore can we point you to the 11.3 reviewed here.
- 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
- 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
- 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
- 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
- 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
- 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
- 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
- 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
- 2 - Pour it out
- 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.
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