Octomore 13.4


Today, we're reviewing Octomore 13.4 and updating our ranking of all the bottles in the 13th series. You can find our reviews of the other releases from the 13th series here.

Octomore 13.4

Region: Islay

ABV: 61.6%

Price: £170.00

Octomore 13.4 was distilled in 2016 using 100% Scottish-grown Concerto barley, which was peated to 137.3 PPM. After spending six months in first fill ex-American whiskey casks, it was transferred to 300-litre American virgin oak casks that had been highly toasted for the remainder of its 5-year maturation.

Nose

Initially, we find this whisky a little restrained on the nose. There's toasted oak, honey, and significantly less peat than we expected given its age. Giving it air allows it to open up, and we can detect ash hidden behind some rock salt, peroxide, malt vinegar, and a little sourness. There's also a slight sweet note that reminds us of love heart sweets.

Palate

The palate is a bit rough, with more smoke than on the nose. There's a strong presence of TCP, ginger, and cloves. There's also a nice sweet sugar syrup note coming through on the mid-palate. It's joined by some menthol on the finish, along with a fair amount of spice. The mouthfeel is good and a touch oily, but it's too hot for us. Giving it air reveals burnt wood along with a slight bitterness.

Nose (with water)

Reduction brings out a little more smoke along with a nice nuttiness. We're also getting a little whipped cream, warehouse funk, and some smoked hickory sauce. The nose benefits from a few drops of water.

Palate (with water)

On the palate, water brings out an increased bitterness that is not particularly appealing, but it also tames some of the heat and creates a nicer mouthfeel with a synthetic cream sweetness. The finish has also lost some of that spice. Fortunately, the bitterness disappears quickly and the other notes described above remain more or less consistent.

Conclusion

Like the nose, the palate benefits from a few drops of water. With water, it's a much more palatable dram, but even still, it's definitely not our favourite Octomore, and we wonder if it would have benefited from a few more years in the cask. It's also quite pricey, as most Octomores are now. We'll give it a 7/10.

Score: 7/10

We're putting this one in fourth place among the 13th series releases, meaning our final rankings are:

  1. Octomore 13.2
  2. Octomore 13.1
  3. Octomore 13.3
  4. Octomore 13.4
  • 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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