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Bruichladdich Octomore 5 Year Old Edition 7.3

Fool Me Again

7 691

@OdysseusUnboundReview by @OdysseusUnbound

12th Aug 2020

1

  • Nose
    22
  • Taste
    23
  • Finish
    23
  • Balance
    23
  • Overall
    91

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Disclaimer: I'm really bad at identifying blind samples

This mystery sample was provided by @Nozinan and the sample was poured November 21, 2019, bottle 2/3 full when the sample was poured, and the bottle opened April 29, 2019. Unlike "blind" tastings that are done for every pay-to-play whisky award on the planet, this was a true blind tasting and that's all the information I was given.

Tasting notes, neat from a Highland whisky glass

  • Nose: earthy peat, smoke, a bit of iodine, a bit of leather, some mint/menthol, lime leaves, a faint cherry note, a touch of salted caramel
  • Palate: fruitier than expected on arrival, raisins, caramel, black pepper, a bit hot, fruit salad (pears, peaches, pineapple, cherries)
  • Finish: long and warming, peat (earthy rather than ashy), caramel, raisins, pears, black pepper
  • Score (neat): 91/100

Initial guesses: Amrut Peated Cask Strength, Bowmore Tempest, Ardbeg Corryvreckan

With water

  • Nose: the fruit comes forward, raisins, cherries, cranberries, pears, with the smoke hanging around in the background.
  • Palate: softer, but with more pepper, smoke, and oak, yet less fruit
  • Finish: the peat is more "iodine-laced" now, with lime, menthol, and a bit of caramel hanging on
  • Score (with water): 89/100

Reveal: Octomore 7.3

Well, at least two of my three guesses were in the right area this time.And in my defense, I probably guessed Amrut just because I know how much @Nozinan likes their offerings. I really enjoy mystery tastings. They're humbling and force me to focus on smell, texture, and taste rather than expectations derived from labels, packaging, price point, and marketing. Bruichladdich claims this is peated to 169 ppm, but honestly this doesn't feel any peatier than Ardbeg Corryvreckan (hence my guess). In fact, according to this video at about the 10:50 mark, there's a chance that these peat measurements are off. Whereas every other distillery on Islay measures peat levels in the barley by using HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography, apparently the gold standard), Bruichladdich does not use that method. Looking at the big picture, this may not matter much. What really matters is the quality of the whisky. At five years old, I was surprised to find this much fruitiness behind all that peat. The Spanish wine casks must have been fresh and active.

  • Would I accept a glass of this if it were offered to me? Without a doubt. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • Would I order this in a bar or pub? Unlikely. This is a fairly complex whisky and I feel like a bar or pub environment wouldn't be conducive to proper enjoyment.
  • Would I purchase a bottle? If the price was right (under $150, which is unlikely), I would absolutely buy one.

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6 comments

@RianC
RianC commented

Nice review @OdysseusUnbound! Your last statement about price sums up Octomore for me, in that, I've really liked what I've tried but can't bring myself to meet the, let's be honest, hugely inflated asking price(s).

2 months ago 3Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@OdysseusUnbound - Very nice review. I think sometimes I enjoy your reviews of my whiskies as much as I enjoy drinking them

@RianC I hear you. This was sold at a significant distant during an online sale (Black Friday or cyber Monday) in Calgary. It came in (with tax and shipping) under $135.

I’ve been hesitant to buy more expensive whiskies (or much of anything this year) but @paddockjudge made a good point a few weeks ago. Instead of paying $90 a bottle for a few good whiskies that will sit in my cabinet waiting to be opened for years (if ever), why not shell out a little more for one bottle something really special and enjoy it?

2 months ago 4Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@Nozinan - Totally hear that last part as it is where my current buying philosophy lies. I'm also drinking less lately so it makes more sense.

Excellent price on the Octomore too!

2 months ago 3Who liked this?

Wierdo commented

@OdysseusUnbound I think you have reached the same conclusions as me about Octomore. I've admittedly only had the one bottle and really enjoyed it. But for the price I could have 2 bottles of Corryvrecken or 2 bottles of Uigedail with change. And I enjoy both of those bottles very much too.

Apparently the more recent batches of Octomore (9 onwards) aren't quite as good either.

2 months ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@Wierdo I admit I haven’t tasted a lot of Octomores, but all have been excellent, including the 10.1 I have open.

I agree they are expensive. I’m not sure what the justification for that is. Perhaps capacity to produce and resultant rarity is a factor.

I passed up a chance to buy a number of expressions on sale in 2013, including, sad to say, the 4.2. Oh to have a time machine...

2 months ago 2Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@Wierdo - in one! I loved the sAmple you sent me but I'd happily take a bottle of Corry and an Oogy instead! And with change, as you say ...

2 months ago 2Who liked this?

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