We do love our Octomores here at Two Whisky Bros, so we're excited to try the latest Jim McEwan Signature Collection release alongside an older special edition from the distillery.
Jim McEwan Signature Collection 4.3 Octomore 2015
As we’ve previously mentioned the signature collection are the final casks from Jim’s personal reserves. These are being released in partnership between Jim and Dramfool. There are twenty seven bottles in the series with three of them being released roughly every three months. These casks are being billed as “not just the finest cut of spirit produced, but the finest examples of the typical (and not so typical) casks that were a cornerstone of his tenure. Each cask is unique, each one chosen for representing the best of what he intended. This must be considered the peak of the production Jim was famous for creating.”
This particular release was distilled on 20th May 2015 from spirit that was peated to 130.8PPM. It was matured in a 1st fill Bourbon barrel from Heaven Hills distillery. it was bottled un-chill filtered, with no added colour, and at natural cask strength of 64.0%. The cask yielded only 176 bottles, making it the rarest of the collection bottled to date.
Now, this is quintessential Octomore, it’s like face planting into a peat bog. Dragging ourselves out we’re getting some saline, and peat that’s coming across as tobacco smoke mixed with sweet vanilla and caramelised pear. There’s also a hint of cereal in the background.
It’s like your mouth is filled with burning smoke from a log fire. The peat is the dominant flavour, but it’s well balanced by sweet salted caramel, mint and rosemary. The peat lingers on the palate along with the sweeter notes. The spirit Is mouth coating. It’s a big dram and touch hot, but it’s delicious.
Nose (with water)
The reduced nose has a touch of yeast, we’ve also lost the salt, along with the peat that has faded into to background. There’s a mustiness here, along with some Monin caramel syrup. The smoke is still there, but now it’s more like a singed marshmallow.
Palate (with water)
Reduced palate has notes of TCP, along with a floral note that we’ll say is lavender and there’s also a little soap. The peat has receded to leave more ashy and burnt notes. The sweetness has intensified and is now more like sugar syrup than gooey caramel. This has a long finish which is still quite hot.
It’s a tasty dram and if money is no question you should go for it. For those of us who understand just how big a contribution Jim McEwan has made to whisky, who want a piece of history, and are just laddie nerds in general it’s a treat to have a bottle of this. Saying that you could get two bottles of 11.3 for the price of this, and it’s hard for us to say the average whisky drinker wouldn’t be better off taking that option as 11.3 is equally as good.
Price: £170.00 (Auction)
This quadruple distilled Octomore was matured in a combination of bourbon, sweet wine, and sherry casks over 10 years. It was peated to 162ppm, bottled at 70% and limited to 3000 500ml bottles.
Initially we’re getting some strawberries, cranberries, and light peat. Giving this a little air and we’re also getting some cracked black pepper, orange, pick n mix, and coconut. On our initial nosing we didn’t know the cask types, but we both guessed this was a wine finish of some sort.
Initially we’re getting the peat, but it’s not overpowering. There also some black pepper, caramelised brown sugar, and ginger. On the finish we’re getting caramel and warm chilli. Good mouthfeel, and this is surprisingly drinkable even at a massive 70%.
Nose (with water)
Reduced nose shows more toffee notes, some dark chocolate, and cadburys eclairs. Air brings back the brown sugar, along with some liquorice, plastic, and synthetic sugar. We’re not getting much peat now.
Palate (with water)
Reduced palate doesn’t show a huge difference like the nose there’s now lighter peat/smoke, and some of the alcohol bite/heat has been reduced, but we’re still getting the same caramelised brown sugar, ginger and pepper. This has a good sweet finish.
Not our favourite Octomore, but surprisingly drinkable at 70% and as laddie nerds we’d happily give this a 8/10. Your opinion may vary as we love it as a curiosity, but appreciate it might not be for everyone.
- 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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