Whisky Connosr

Octomore 5 Year Old Edition 4.2 Comus

Average score from 12 reviews and 12 ratings 90

Octomore 5 Year Old Edition 4.2 Comus

Product details

  • Brand: Bruichladdich
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 61.0%
  • Age: 5 year old

Where to buy

@talexander
Octomore 5 Year Old Edition 4.2 Comus

Last year I went to a Jim McEwan Bruichladdich tasting (advertised as a "retirement" tasting - the second "retirement" tasting of his that I've been to - and like that one, he again announced no intention whatsoever of retiring) and heard the man say how much he disliked overly loquacious tasting notes. Well, go to the Bruichladdich website and read his notes, and my God - it's written like something out of Milton's Paradise Lost (only more pretentiously).

Which makes sense, since "Comus" was a play by Milton, performed in 1634, and I suppose largely forgotten. Comus was the son of Bacchus and Circe and would use his "potions" to ensnare an innocent young woman and take her virginity. Ew. Well done, McEwan - you named your whisky after a rapist armed with roofies.

As many of you know, Octomore is Bruichladdich's big-dick-contest-winner for the most heavily peated malt in the world. Octomore is both the name of a long closed distillery, and also of a farm situated above Port Charlotte. Being Bruichladdich, there are countless expressions of Octomore; this one is Edition 4.2, peated to a huge 167ppm, distilled in 2007 and matured for five years (in whole or in part) in Chateau D'Yquem casks (which McEwan calls the greatest wine in the world - that might be kinda subjective though). It is a limited edition of only 18,000 bottles. This almost-finished bottle was generously provided by @paddockjudge.

The colour is a pale but rich gold. On the nose, beautiful lemon, sweet peat, graham crackers (it's a lemon meringue pie!) Of course it is smoky but not overtly so. Marcona almonds. Light, golden raisins. Young, fresh, vibrant, but water seems to do little.

On the palate, immediate numbing of the tongue, not just from alcohol but from the massive peat as well. But in five seconds it clears up and is delicious. Oily mouthfeel, almost syrupy. Liquorice, eucalyptus, light tobacco, and more lemons! Sweeter than you would expect. Very complex, even more so with water, though the heat has increased.

The finish is fruity, with a combination of lemon, peach and mango, with ribbons of peat in the distance - a finish you never want to end. Of course, I'm a peat freak, so I suppose my review must be taken with a grain of salt (or barley). And despite my revulsion toward the marketing "geniuses" at Bruichladdich, and my impatience with the grandstanding, attention-seeking Mr. McEwan, this is an excellent whisky, one of the greatest I've ever tasted from what I feel is a very hit-and-miss distillery. It is rightly described by McEwan as a battle between the heavy peat and the sweet wine influence, and it works beautifully.

@talexander, your description,

"immediate numbing of the tongue, not just from alcohol but from the massive peat as well. But in five seconds it clears up and is delicious". - This flavor explosion is what I refer to as 'Whisky' Pop Rocks(R).

Now I remember. I've had the Octomore 5.1, 6.1 and 10. All similar amounts of "peat, heat and not much sweet," as I call them. When I had the 5.1 I thought, wow, with 5 more years this will be even better. But as it turns out, I did not feel the 10 was any improvement over the 5.1. Of the three, I preferred the 5.1. But I also had the pleasure of having a whole bottle of it......

@Victor

Samples were from a friend. Comus was the son of Bacchus and Circe, from Greek mythology. Bruichladdich Octomore 4.2 Comus is reported to have 167 ppm of phenols. This review is in non-sequential format

Colour: relatively pale

Strength: good strong flavours, though a bit on the gentle side, at first, for an Octomore. In the nose the wine flavours are the most obvious, but the smoke and peat are there too. Barley-malt flavours are present but secondary in the nose. Water added made the nose more fragrant, and gave the flavours added coherence. On the palate the smoke and peat come on more strongly than in the nose, but still remain on the gentle side for an Octomore. The wine, peat, and smoke flavours gather strength on the palate, and continue quite strongly, seeming to even continue to increase in intensity into the finish. Score 23/25

Quality: the wine flavours are brisk, pointed, vivid, and quite good throughout. The smoke is sharp and acrid throughout. The peat is gentle, though not as satiny smooth as with the Octomore Orpheus 2.2. The barley-malt flavours are still there, but are subtle and secondary to the wine and smoke/peat flavours. I like each part of the total sequence of nose-palate-finish of Octomore 4.2 Comus better with some water added. Score 23/25 (22/25 without water)

Variety: there is good but not excellent variety in these flavours. The wine gives more a single flavour than a complex package of flavours. The peat similarly has one tone and not multiple pitches to offer. The barley is not prominent and you have to look for it to notice it. Score 22/25

Harmony: these very nice flavours do not form a single fabric together, as does the Octomore Orpheus 2.2. It is almost as though the wine and peat/smoke flavours have a barrier between them. Water does improves the coherence of this malt somewhat though, especially in the nose. The barley barely has a voice. Score 20/25

Comment: Bruichladdich Octomore 4.2 Comus is a very nice malt with very nice flavours but without a good degree of integration of those flavours. Compared to the total field of malt whiskies it looks quite good. Compared to other Octomores, for me, it comes up a little short. I was hoping for something which "wowed" me as did Octomore Orpheus 2.2. This does not. This does not even come close

Very nice review @Victor. I enjoy your non-sequential format reviews. Perhaps your expectations were influenced by the Octomore 2.2, which I have not tasted; however, my rating was only one point more at 89.

This expression intrigued me as it was busy and complex; I agree that it lacks harmony - this lack of harmony is what I find so interesting. It is almost deceitful the way it promises something and then changes direction to offer something else...a temptress, and rightfully named, as the pedigree lends itself to this style of flirtation and seduction. .

For a young expression, five years, it certainly left a positive impression with me. One characteristic that I could not ignore was the live-pepper and hot-prickly effect; hundreds of tiny explosions on the tongue - whisky POP ROCKS (R).

Would I buy another bottle of this?...yes! Actually I purchased two more.

@ozmalt

Lucky for my nearest's and dearest's birthdays only crop up once a year. They say I'm difficult to buy for so I've made it easy and suggested Whisky and if they need specifics I mention Islay. They don't drink the stuff so guidance without being too direct reduces the potential risk of unwrapping mouthwash and worse, having to drink it and look like the cat who got the cream. The fact is I'd be just as grateful but you get my drift no doubt.

So it was with astonishment and uber delight that I ripped the wrappers of Octomore 4.2 on my special day. I'd waltzed and tangoed my way through a 6.1 earlier this year and just when I thought it was safe to let the taste buds relax with a Port Charlotte, 4.2 mesmerises and mashes my senses in one magic swoop.

It's is an incongruous dram bulging with peat yet clever with it's Sauterne sweetness.

The nose is gorgeous. I don't like the word but it seems to capture the cornucopia of chocolate mint, stewed pears, preserved apricots, salty lemon and pipe tobacco in a worn leather pouch. I really like the flavours and probably had that look on my face that Beagles get at the airport when they find an apple in your briefcase.

The palate really takes a while to unravel. It's immediately sweet and borders on botrytis. Then it melts...no integrates...no transforms to caramel mashed with liquorice. Then I get some salty walnuts and warm raisins. It's almost overwhelming and then the confusion clears and reveals more measured doses of each component and as I struggle to identify them I thought bugger...start again. It's magnificent.

The finish is a pleasant tipsy narcosis where you have really good memories but are not sure where they all came from. Who would have thought that peat and sweet rhyme so well.

@GT2

More info on the Islay Scotch here: bruichladdich.com/the-whisky/octomore/…

Another rabid beast from the abrasive Octomore family. This one is the Chateu d'Yquem Sauternes cask version that is fruitier, bright, and "soft" for this bestial series.

Color is bright straw, mega nanoscopic legs all over the glass.

Nose is spot on with a mix of rendered pork belly, pineapple/mango, charred forest, seasalt spray.

Taste is slap you around with the abv and peat/iodine. Long, warming finish doesn't become "esophagus on fire" like some other Octomore. It isn't as primeval as its brethren. Soft in the center and rough around the edges. A nice splash of water helps it open up as neat can be a bit abrasive.

Really nice bottle to own if you want something as intense as Octomore but more approachable like Ardbeg. Just pour a little less than normal given the monster abv. Worth seeking out.

I'll be having a glass this afternoon. A remarkable scotch, to be sure.

R

Creosote and smoke with burning driftwood. Unique nose with some fruit. On the palate, the sweet and peat comingle elegantly with an herbed element surfacing. Viscous mouthfeel that delights the buds. Fruit creeps in with lush grapes and Asian pears. Finish is uncommonly long, continuing the theme of sweet and peat nicely with a bit of citrus, as well. If your pocketbook can dance with this bottle, I'd say you should go for it. Alas, I never got a chance to taste the Orpheus before it disappeared for good.

A few drops of water does change Comus 4.2, smoothing it out considerably and sweetening the nose, even while smoothing out the palate and lessening the sweetness. For some reason I enjoy being a masochist and suffering through the high alcohol without much water because the complexity is more intense that way. I've tried it with only a few drops, and another time with one quarter of a teaspoon. I'd say a few drops are nice but more than that takes away some of the nuances. One quarter of a teaspoon was a little too much water for me in a 1.5 ounce dram. I'd say three drops would be ideal for my taste.

n

sample from a friend

Nose: Clearly a backdrop of bog-peat. It's sweet and elegant. It doesn't hit quite like some of the harsh and massive peat monsters out there (called monsters for a reason). Some salt, and it turns as well. Fruit is in there, soft grapes, sweet Sauternes (surprise!) neither cloying nor spicy. Lemon zest, musty apricot, and a few small white/light orange stone fruits. Wisps of vanilla and waxiness. (with water) takes it all down a bit and rather more elgant and crystalline, but not crystallized you see.

Palate: Whoa nelly! This is big, rich, and sticky oil. Yet, the alcohol isn't sharp, and it's not too much neat. Honey, big Sauternes, there's the botrytis spice, and then quite a bit of ash and tar. Less coastal and more direct. Maybe a drop or two of water will open it up. (with water) Much the same across the board, but now the peaty characteristics (tar and bog) take up the lead a little more, with flashes of the wine and fruit flitting in and out.

Finish: Big and rich. It doesn't pull any punches. It's a peculiar mix, and it times it's rather disjointed between the different elements, but I do like the peat and I do like the Sauternes influence. It's really a lot of fun, and that's why we're here.

@scips

Great bottle: the white box is for white wine (Sauterne) cask that have been used. Great whisky: it smells, tastes and feels like good pipe tobacco. Everything is in adequation, the smell, the taste, the finish. It makes me think about the rear of a smoky old pub, with a cracking fire in a corner, and some fresh flowers with their fragrance shattered around. That's really an amazing whisky, it's just a bit hard to find...

@Rantavahti

Octomore 4.2 Comus/167 ppm was a big disappointment at first that grew up to be a less of a disappointment. Just like the second Bond by Daniel Craig, Comus had high expectations. Casino Royale had been great and very hard to top. Octomores I didn't have any experience of but I surely was keen on tasting that 167 ppm’s of peatiness. To be clear, both Quantum of Solace and Comus were good, but not great.

To be fair, Comus is good because the smokiness is consistent in its taste (which is unfortunately not the case in all peaty whiskies). The main disappointment was the nose, I could hardly spot any smoke in it. It was way too subtle for my taste. The nose was lacking personality in other ways as well.

Nose: Strong at first but gets pretty subtle in many ways. Very very subtle with peat, kinda spicy and kinda fruity but all the aromas were very light.

Mouth: Honey and smoke mixed together, the taste is nicely intense. A wee oily with some grapes in it.

Finish: This time smoke gets almost in your eyes. Long and smoky, just the way I like it!

Balance: Powerful on the phenols, I guess after all, you can call this a peat monster thought we had a rough start. The positive thing about it is that it gets better along the way!

@Rantavahti - you make no mention of the bottle nor the source of the whisky. I am curious if you poured this from a newly opened bottle. The reason for asking this question - when I opened my second bottle of this expression, my wife was about to call the fire department..."creosote ties on fire" - I spilled a small amount on my hand and it stayed with me for a considerable period of time.

I had no problem detecting the peat in this one; as a matter of fact, it was quite evident before any of this whiky had been poured into a glass. What I did find puzzling was the taming of the peatiness on the palate - it did not translate proportionally from the nose to the mouth.

@Rantavahti, I agree with your statement; "it would be nice to taste more of 'em, and own a whole bottle instead of sampling." So often a sample does not portray the true image of a whisky...if you had been in the room when I opened a bottle of the Octomore Comus 4.2, you would have been totally impressed by the heavy aroma, a smokey blanket...probably not achievable with a sample.

Still, a nice review mentioning many characteristics that I detected in this whisky also; thank you for posting it.

@markjedi1

This Octormore is the first to be bottled in the transparent, fumed bottle instead of the typical black one. It was named Comus, is five years old and got a finish on Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes casks, the sweet dessert wine. That makes it a little less pale than the former 04.1.

Compared to the Ochdamh-mor, this one is a sissy. A bit of smoke and a bit of peat (while the level of ppm is again 167), but mostly fresh on apricots and sultanas. Quite some freshly mowed grass and even some warm apple pie. Smoldering hearth.

It is oily and mouth coating on the palate, but not a kick in the teeth. Very sweet from the Sauternes. Sultanas, apricots, citrus zest and even some peaches from a can. The typical Octomore traits surface midpalate with a hefty helping of peat and some oyster juice. Adding water makes is more accessible (doh!), if not better.

The finish is long, smoky and sweet.

Wine finishes are often hit and miss, but this one is bull’s eye! Between 120 and 150 EUR. Very good, but also very expensive.

@markjedi1

Octomore is known for being the most heavily peated whisky in the world. It is not a distillery (it used to be one, though), but a recipe that is distilled and bottled by Bruichladdich in long, thin black bottles. This Ochadamh-mor matured for 5 years on American oak and was bottled at cask strength. It has a ppm of 167.

While the peat is prominent (no, seriously), it also has quite some goodies in store such as vanilla, caramelized appels and Mrs Bridges Strawberry & Cream candy. That is nicely balanced with a seriously brackish hint of smoked fish. Prickly on the nose and very peppery indeed. Adding water gives you more ashes and smoke, but diminishes the sweetness tremendously.

It is powerful and peppery on the palate with vanilla, citrus, sugar candy. At the same time it is enormously brackish. Loads of peat, upholstered with cod oil and olive oil. The second sip is much nicer. The fruit slowly creeps past the alcohol and peat. Water makes it, contrary to the nose, sweeter on the palate.

How could the finish be anything but very long with so much peat and such an ABV. It remains sweet and very spicy.

The whisky is not as extreme as you would expect. The newest Octomore, the 05.1/1_169, has a ppm of 169, currently the world’s highest. This 04.1 will set you back 120 EUR, which is very expensive for a 5 Year Old whisky. But it is very good.

@galg

Mirror Mirror on the wall, who’s the peatiest of them all?

We’re back in the peat wars, and the newest addition of Bruichladdich is this Octomore 4.2 “Comus”, rated at a whopping 167 ppm.As you know I’ve passed the “Bring all the peat you an to me” stage, many of whisky lovers go through at some time or other in their whisky journey, but I’m a big fan of the Octomore. Having really liked the 2.2 “Orpheus”, I have soft spot for Octomores finished in wine casks, they just turn out better than their “unfinished” counterparts.

Comus is the son of Bacchus and was also a play written by John Milton, presenting the desperate battle by Comus to ensnare a beautiful innocent girl through the hedonistic power if his magical potions. What makes this unusual is the finish of this extra peated spirit in casks which previously held one of the worlds most renowned dessert wines : sauternes wine from Chateau d’Yquem. Sweet honey gold, to compliment Big peaty tarry notes. Can it work? Oh, yes. It works, and it works like a charm! Some of you might find that combination weird, but let me just remind you how well the Petrus Casks finish worked with the Octomore 2.2 “Orpheus”. Bruicladdich do experiment a lot, and some experiments just turn out to be lovely, others a disaster. Here it’s clear they have a winner. Enough blabber let’s get to some dramming.

Nose: Major ABV % here. Strong stuff. With an initial layer of sweet fruit then comes peat in hefty amounts. Spicy cinnamon gum. Vanilla and sweet fruity melange of grape and apricot. Sauternes colossus. Smoke. Tar. Eating an apricot jam scone after a peat smoke fire.

Mouth: Oily mouth feel. Lots of grape influence , wine. Fruity sweet with honey liquor. Whiffs of peat smoke in the middle in hefty quantity. Medicinal and yet so sweet. Fruit Compote set alight. Leather. Spicy-Sweet.

Finish: Smoke. Very long. Peat. Grapes. so long it took minutes literally to withdraw from my palate.

Excellent stuff. I was a bit worried if the desert wine finish would hold against the powerful Octomore phenols, but it just works out so well together. Good work Jim ! A real good buy, it may not be cheap for a 5 year old peated monster, but it’s worth it, IMHO.

@maltster

I finally got my Hands on the latest Octomore bottling - Comus, Son of Bacchus and the beautiful Circe. This is the first Octomore which comes in a white Tube and in a frosted transparent Glassbottle and has even higher peat Levels than it´s Predecessor. It was matured in Chateau d´Yquem Casks and is about five Years old - there must be something different and it really is as you will see soon...

nose: Waves of sweet Peat with malty Bisquits but there is no peat attack as I expected from the high levels of phenols. This is truly outstanding Whisky from the first whiff - as the peat oscillates forward and backward there are lots of Fruits released between the Amplitudes - an intense Sweetness with fresh Pears, stewed Apricots, tropical Guave and Passionfruit is exciting my Receptors. I get so much in here - nosing for more than half an hour and there is still more coming: Heather, Leather and Tobacco; a hint of Fishsauce mixed with Mint and Toffee - I could nose this all Day.

palate: medium Weight with a Mouthfeel dominated by the Viscosity from the Sauternes and the Peat which is immediately drying the whole oral Cavity - the high Alcohol is very good integrated without any agressive Attack on the Tongue. Barbequed sweet Grapes sprinkled with Seasalt, Tar and some medicinal tones; Nuts dipped in Syrup - a Rollercoasterride in the Mouth.The most exquisit Sweet Fruits caress the Tastebuds while the Smoke builds up powerful pressure - what a great Whisky!

finish: long and lasting fruity impressions and with the peat going it releases a complex Sweetness; the big scottish bad Boy was tamed by the beautiful french Lady ...I´m in for a Journey on the Flavourspectrum which goes from one Antipode to the other. This is a multideminsional and sophisticated Dram!

The Comus is a truly great Whisky - even more so as I was very sceptic in the beginning: rough Peat and french Sweetwine - this is meant to get wrong but boy it didn´t; it´s a marriage in heaven! Kudos to Jim McEwan. There is no other Whisky I know which offers an Experience like that - I strongly recommend the Comus as it is unique and utterly beautiful.

Wow. This is amazing. I would love to taste/smell this accurate. This review sounds like a mixture of science and passion for the whisky. Great :)

@Wills, thank you for the kind words - I'm happy if the review was useful for you.

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