Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Bruichladdich Octomore - Thanks Hugo!

I read with great interest Hugo's piece on how to pick up cheap whisky from the EU. So much interest, in fact, that I thought that I better check it out and see if I could pick up some bargains myself from Whiskysite - a great website from the Netherlands. Boy, was I in for a surprise! The selection of spirits available was truly fantastic with some wonderful whiskies that I had long wanted to try. I quickly found myself looking at a bottle of whisky that I had heard great things about... the Bruichladdich Octomore 06.1 5 Year Old Scottish Barley.

The Octomore series of whiskies from Bruichladdich are famed for being the most peaty whiskies in the world. I consider myself as someone who appreciates peaty whiskies, but was unsure just how peaty I liked them - what better way to test myself out then to get up with the big boys and get involved in some seriously peaty action??

Now, for the money side. Master of Malt sells this whisky for £94.20/bottle (ouch!). On Whiskysite they are currently selling the same bottle for €94.99/bottle (down from €114.99). The current exchange on £/€ currently is c. €1.41/£1 (correct 06/07). This brings the Whiskysite version down to c.£67.40/bottle. Admittedly shipping from the Netherlands is more expensive (c.£10 vs c.£4) and your bank will charge you for using your credit/debit card abroad (c.£2), but even with all of that factored in it still works out quite a lot cheaper. To make things even better the Whiskysite postage fee is fixed up to 12 bottles, whereupon it becomes a little more, therefore if you buy a few bottles postage costs really do become negligible. I ended up buying a couple of other bottles (all for significantly cheaper then you can get them in the UK) and all-in-all saved a considerable sum.

So, with all that being said - how was the whisky? I decided to do a taste comparison with another peaty/smoky whisky that I know and love - Laphroaig Select (currently available at Tesco on special offer for £25!), to see whether the Bruichladdich was worth the fuss.

It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it...

Laphroaig Select

I started with the whisky poured neat into an ISO glass. The whisky possessed a soft, warm smoke with a secondary note of sea spray. That saline quality came through when tasted and was then followed by a pleasing salted caramel note. Neat there was a gentle burn to the whisky, but not overly harsh. I then added a touch of water to it, to see how it opened up. It seemed to be a little sweeter with some sweet spice aromas. On drinking it was rather smoother than before, I described it as pleasant and gentle, comforting and unobtrusive with a hint of smoke on the finish to remind you that it was there.

Bruichladdich Octomore


On pouring it neat I took an inquisitive sniff and found it rich and fragrant with a rush of smoke that was like standing next to a campfire. On tasting I immediately noticed that it was smoother than the Laphroaig, but with considerably more power (it is 57%, as opposed to Laphroaig's 40%). The power it possesses however does not detract from the whisky at all, if anything it enhances it.

It is incredibly complex on the palate with a flavour profile that evolves as you taste it. This is a whisky that demands your attention, not one that you sip whilst watching TV; it is profound and intriguing. The addition of a little water seemed to dampen the campfire somewhat. However when tasted it had transformed into something proud, regal and majestic. Whereas before it insisted on, nay, demanded your attention; now it was self-assured and confident enough to know that your attention would be drawn to it without needing to get in your face. This is certainly the best whisky that I have ever drunk. 

So, with that I must say - cheers, Hugo! Thanks for the tip-off. With the Euro rate so good at the moment I would highly recommend checking out Whiskysite and seeing what bargains you can snap up.


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