Only one review today as Valentine’s Day, preparing for the launch of our dram club, and getting outbid on the SWA has kept us busy over the last few days. Side note, if you’re reading this and also happen to be on the auctions sites we’d appreciate if you’d lay off bidding on Springbank for a few weeks.
Anyway, we digress, while there’s only one review today it’s another exciting release for us as we head back to Islay for the latest Octomore release.
The Octomore 10 Years Fifth Edition
The fifth edition of the Octomore 10 was malted to 90.3 ppm from a 2009 harvest of optic barely. The spirit spent five years in first fill American oak casks before being transferred over to Spanish Ribera Del Duero barriques hailing from a bodega in northern Spain. It spent the remainder of its maturation in these casks before being bottled with no added colour or chill filtering. This release is limited to 3,500 bottles that are being sold exclusively from the Laddie website and Laddie shop on Islay.
Nose opens with walnuts, yeast, and a touch of smoke. It reminds us of smoke wafting through a window from a garden bonfire. There’s also some ash, black pepper, soil, waffle cone, citrus and surprisingly for something this old a touch of ethanol.
You shouldn’t judge a whisky by it’s colour, but in this case the orange colour is telling us this is going to be interesting…
Palate has an ample supply of fruits such as cranberries and honeydew. There’s smoke here but it comes across to us more as charred fruits than the big peaty notes we get from the younger Octomores. There’s also some vanilla pods, and sultanas mixed with canderel and orange juice. Decent mouthfeel and the alcohol is well integrated, but the finish is a touch short.
Nose (with water)
The reduced nose still has a little ethanol, but now we’re finding the water has brought out more of the bourbon cask influence. In addition to vanilla from the oak we’re also getting some raisins, and a cereal note.
Palate (with water)
Initially the reduced palate is very similar to the undiluted palate. It’s maybe slightly less sweet and slightly more spicy, but on the whole it’s very similar. Given this a little air and time and we can pick out tobacco, and find the canderel has become white sugar. There’s a little more heat now and we’re reminded of a ginger smoothie. We personally prefer the extra sweetness on the unreduced palate. This has a medium length finish with a spicy note that linger on the tongue.
We find that the Octomore 10 releases are a an odd concept for us. After all isn’t the point of Octomore to smack you in the face with peat? Now we’re not saying this isn’t peated, it is, but the combination of low ppm, (well low for an Octomore that is) and longer than usual ageing period means that if we were given this dram blind we wouldn’t necessarily go straight to Octomore as our guess.
It’s a tasty dram, but unfortunately, while it doesn’t have the usual Octomore peat it does have the usual price, and at £160 it’s very expensive for a ten year old. This is difficult for us as it’s definitely one of the better 10 year old releases, but the price means we can’t rate it any higher than 7.5/10.
If you’re curious our final rankings for all the Octomore 12 releases are as below:
- Octomore 12.2
- Octomore 12.1
- Octomore 10 Years Fifth Edition
- Octomore 12.3
- 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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