|Darth Vader is in the house.|
|Read it and weep: 5yrs 131ppm|
Bruichladdich Octomore 01.1 Aged 5 years, 63.5% abv, peated at 131 ppm
Color: pale chardonnay - a cliché, I know, but well warranted here. Rich pale gold.
Nose: putty, library paste, mineral clay, a hint of garage (motor oil, diesel, and petrol) and some maritime ocean air with notes of salt, iodine, and sea spray. Further nosing reveals straw, dry malt, and some cut grass. There is a hint of cereal sugars, but the nose is for the most part dry, mineral and industrial in feeling.
|Chardonnay colored in the glass|
|Samples bottled for the open shelf life experiment|
Yes, drinking Octomore 01.1 is like a big journey from the heights of the most intense sweetness like angel's wings to the depths of fiery hell with the most char I've every had imprinted on my tongue by any whisky.
How about a drop of water? Water loosens the putty note in the nose and adds a distant bit of citrus and also some larger hint of the sugars. Sweeter, fruiter, and a bit piquant; but still with that bit of garage and petrol. The water does nothing to restructure that stately progression from intense sweet to intense fire to intense ash. So I try adding even more water - about 10 drops total. Now the nose is losing it, getting noticeably weaker but floral notes and sea moss have joined the citrus and clay and petrol. But on the tongue the sweetness is less razor sharp and more lusciously honeyed. The transition to the peat attack of the mid-palate is more gentle and gradual, and the peat attack itself is a bit softer with the vegetal notes and wistful sweetness showing up almost at the start of the finish so that the honeyed sweet entry almost seems to hand directly off to the ashy herbal sweetness of the finish. Water makes it less intense, but no less lovely - perhaps even more so. This is one of the very few drams I might actually prefer with a good drop of H2O.
Comparing this to the Octomore 04.1 I'm struck more by the family resemblance than the differences. Both are pale, powerful, razor sharp, and intensely sweet up from with huge earthy peat in the middle and huge coal ash at the end. The 01.1 is has more motor oil, petrol, and mineral in the nose and midpalate. 04.1 is more earth and a more restrained refined aspect. However they are clearly kin. Both are exceptional experiences. Both are extreme experiences.
Highly recommended, if you think you can handle it. And if you can find it. Try Park Avenue Liquors in NYC.
This bottle will be part on an ongoing series of open shelf life experiments inspired by the fascinating series of experiments on the effects of oxidation and evaporation on whiskey left in open bottles performed by Ryan of Value Whisky Reviews / Value Bourbon Reviews. Follow the link above to read his 3 posts on the topic. The experimental methodology is to fill samples when the bottle is first opened and then compare them with the bottle over time as its contents oxidize. I'll be performing these experiments on an ongoing basis. Thus, when I opened this bottle I filled 5 two oz. sample bottles and will compare them with the remains of the bottle over time. I'll be looking at mouth feel, aromatics, nose, and flavor and will use Ryan's five point scale of discernible affects. I'll try to do comparison tastings at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, and a year.