Whisky Advocate

Review: Bruichladdich “Octomore”

February 25th, 2009

This is the new super-peated (131ppm phenol barley) Bruichladdich. “Super-peated” seems almost like an understatement. Ultra-peated, perhaps?

Bruichladdich “Octomore,” (Edition 01.1), 5 years old, 63.5%, $185
Intense smoke on the nose and palate, with notes of freshly tarred road, cigar smoke and ash, licorice root, bacon fat, kalamata olive and smoked seaweed. Struggling to emerge is youthful orchard fruit, honeyed malt, brine and soft vanilla. Long, smoky finish—like licking the walls of a peat-infused kiln. A very invigorating whisky. It’s a few years younger than the other ultra-peated whisky, Ardbeg Supernova. I think if they were both the same age, I would like them equally (And score them equally—I gave Supernova an 89). But the Octomore does taste a little green (it is only 5 years old after all), which was not noticeable in the Supernova. I think Octomore will be very good in another 5, and amazing in another 10. Let’s hope the lads at Bruichladdich are holding some stocks back.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 82

11 Responses to “Review: Bruichladdich “Octomore””

  1. Aaron says:

    Ugh. I would’ve loved to have purchased my own bottle of Octomore, but at that price, it’s beyond my reach (and only 5 years old!). And seeing as how (at least at one local retailer), it’s flying off the shelves, there’s no reason to lower the price.

    Do you know if these new peaty malts, like Supernova and Port Charlotte, will someday be within more people’s reach once they’re more mature? I’m assuming that there will someday be a “regular” bottling of PC once it reaches 10 years old or so.

    I can always hope.

    • John Hansell says:

      Aaron/Mike, it’s a whisky that is very much in demand, so I can understand why it can fetch a nigher price. I can’t say if it will ever come down in price. Time will tell. Maybe the price won’t come down, but the bottlings will get older? (And even better?) We’ll see.

  2. Mike says:

    Like Aaron I would like to see a regular bottling of PC or supernova. If the price dropped into the 80’s-90’s I would consider picking up a bottle as a special occasion whiskey. but with prices from the mid hundreds and up, I wont be picking up a bottle anytime soon.

  3. sku says:

    I haven’t seen it on local shelves yet. Any idea when it will hit?

  4. John Hansell says:

    sku, I think that the importer sent me a sample as soon as they got them, so I would expect them to start getting into distribution.

    Incidentally, the price notwithstanding, it certainly is an interesting whisky and I highly recommend tasting it (and Ardbeg Supernova)if you can.

  5. Rich says:

    John, thanks for the review. i’m going to focus on the Supernova for now; i’m far more excited about that bottle. and i agree; i’ll be more interested in the Octomore in 5 to 10 years, provided they’ve kept some aging stock around.

    quick question: at what ABV do you do your nosings/tastings? i’ve read that some professional tasters dillute to 30% ABV or so to release all the subtle nuances.

    to me, single malts at 30% would be ruined and not worth drinking, but i also understand there’s a difference between a professional profile nosing and an after dinner dram. 😉

    so for the Octomore, for example, which starts at 63.5%, what’s the most you would dilute in the process of your analysis?

  6. John Hansell says:

    Rich, most of the blenders dilute down to 20% ABV. That’s where they feel they can capture the most aromas without the alcohol getting in the way. And I agree with them. However, from a drinking standpoint, many feel that this is too diluted to really enjoy. (I’m one of them.)

    When I review a whisky formally, I nose and taste it without any water (to get texture), but then I gradually, and continuously, add water to the whisky to see how it opens up (or not). By the time I get it down to 20%, I indeed can capture a lot of aromas, but I won’t be drinking it at that strength. I hope this helps.

  7. Lucas says:

    But what if it deteriorates with first drops of water? Do you still keep adding? Because when I drown my dram initially, I’m usually so annoyed that I don’t even want to sit next to a water jug;)

    • John Hansell says:

      Lucas, I don’t want to drift off topic here (maybe I will make this a new thread sometime in the future). But, I will say that the only whiskies that I am hesitent to add water to are the really old ones that already have a low ABV. Sometimes they are very fragile and can fall apart with the addition of water. Let’s leave it at the for now.

  8. Mary Williams says:


    I am in the Chicago area and looking for a bottle of “Octomore” for a friend’s 50th birthday, how can I find one?

    Thanks, Mary

  9. Paul M. says:


    In Chicago, Binny’s South Loop and Ivanhoe, and Sam’s Wine in Lincoln Park have it. I was just there a few hours ago.

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