Bruichladdich Octomore 10yo Dialogos

Octomore Header Article

As promised last year when I reviewed the first three expressions in Bruichladdich’s Octomore Dialogos series, here’s the fourth and final instalment of the range; a 10 year old whisky with a fairly complex make up:

88% has been matured for the full 10 years either 1st fill port pipes (37%), 1st fill cognac casks (31%) or 2nd fill ex-American whiskey casks (20%). Then there’s an additional parcel of stock (12% of the final whisky) which has spent 3 years in first fill ex-American whiskey casks, then 2 years in virgin oak, and its final 6 years in ex-American whiskey casks.

I’ll give you some time to process that.

Got it? Let’s go.

Bruichladdich Octomore 10yo Dialogos
2008 Vintage
100% Scottish barley – 167ppm
12,000 bottles
56.8% ABV
£159.95 here

Nose: Very coastal to begin with – brine, fishboxes, and salted limes. Then the fruit bursts through, with currants, dried apricot, floral honey and some toasted vanilla pods. Finally that trademark rolling woodsmoke comes through, with cacao and some farmyard-y notes.

Palate: Ashy, thick, briney, smoke, unlit cigar, old leather, espresso and a whack of clove and cinnamon. Then a mulchy forest floor, with damp logs and shrubs. The fruit is there too – red berries, and Dairy Milk Fruit and Nut all covered in vanilla.

Finish: Really quite drying, with thick oak, earthy woodsmoke, and a slight savoury edge – clove studded gammon, and salty, smoky bacon crisps.

Overall: It’s Octomore Jim, but not as we know it. When I think of Octomore, I think full in the face smoke, peat, ash, bonfires, barbeques etc, but this expression is significantly more balanced than a lot of previous PPM monsters. After doing my tasting notes I had a look around Bruichladdich’s website and came across a very interesting article by Angus MacRaild (think scotchwhisky.com, whiskyfun.com and, as is viciously rumoured, whiskysponge.com) which quite eloquently discusses what millennials might term ‘peak whisky’; an age window within which a particular distillery shows its best side. Amongst other musings, Angus is of the opinion that “Ardbeg struggles past 30 [years of age]” and, although I’ve had the privilege of tasting several very old, wonderful, Ardbegs, I tend to agree. Having somewhat of a handle on the topic before reading the article, it was this point which really struck a chord with me regarding this Octomore. The smoke is there, of course it is, but as this whisky is twice as old as the other Octomores in the Dialogos range, peat is not the sole driving force of flavour. The casks come into play much more, and allow for a more rounded experience. Do I prefer it to the younger expressions (such as the 6.3 which I thoroughly enjoyed)? No, but I love being able to see how the distillate has reacted to another five years in wood, even if that wood is a whole myriad cask types. At this age, and most likely beyond, Octomore becomes dangerously sessionable, which is no bad thing.

 

 

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