It’s always going to be hit and miss when distilleries try and make something for the sake of it. Most heavily peated whiskies are produced for the same reason Brutal Fruit, and other girly drinks exists, there’s a demand for it. But is it any good? Usually the answer is a resounding “no”.
This may have been the peatiest whisky in the world at one point but I don’t believe that that was their intention. When I drink this I get the impression they wanted to make something so big that it needed extra structure just it wouldn’t collapse on itself. This is Frankenstein’s monster, in a good way. You can tell it’s got some great aspects that come through: a bit of liquorice, a hit of salt, some toffee sticking to the roof of your mouth. But it has some big scars. The high alcohol content (57%) is one of them, and so is, at least I think so, its peatiness. I can understand how these scars can put people off. This whisky is not for them. As for me, I want it to let it’s freak flag fly, and think it’s more than the sum of it’s seemingly disjointed parts.
I give it a 4 out of 5.
I really like the name Octomore and it feels like it belongs to the name of a Bond villain…but not any villain. No, this belongs to the really excellent kind. You know, the kind that actually gives Bond a real challenge, that forces 007 to go above and beyond to defeat his nemesis. The kind of villain that other villains are compared to (dear grammar fiends, I am aware that ending on a preposition is not OK but given the subject matter, it feels appropriate to break the rules).
In the same way, this whisky sets the standard for peaty whiskies and I suspect that henceforth, all other peaty whiskies will be face the question “is this as good as the Octomore?” The answer will probably be a resounding “no” as once you add some H20 to this dram, it has the perfect blend of peat and sweetness. This is seriously good. 5 out of 5 kind of good. Add some water and taste for yourself. Note: if you dislike peat, you will hate this so you have been warned.