I still remember the first time I tried an Octomore, it was the two series and, like this Octomore 11.1, I was astounded by the fruit and complexity under the peat I discovered. Going into it I expected an utter peat bomb that left a pile of char coating your mouth. But that’s the beauty of Octomore, it’s never exactly what you think it’s going to be.
This particular release, 11.1, is made from 100% Scottish barley and aged in ex-bourbon barrels from Jim Beam, Heaven Hill and Jack Daniels. Which I find interesting. The information that is, not the source of the barrels. It’s rare for companies to talk about the actual source of their barrels, but I won’t balk at it. I love the transparency.
Octomore 11.1 – Details and Tasting Notes
Region: Islay, Scotland
Mash Bill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: First Fill ex-Bourbon
Age: 5 Years
Cask Strength | Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
Batch: 11 Series
Vanilla taffy, buttercream, lemon rind, herbal, fruity, touch anise, spice, smoke and some wax.
Vanilla taffy, buttercream, honied spice, lemon rind, herbal, minerality, fruity, touch anise, spice, smoke and some wax.
Long -> Sweet coastal bonfire.
BALANCE, BODY and FEEL
Good, medium-full, warm and oily
Octomore 11.1 – Overall
Aroma is waxy sweet taffy and lemon cake wrapped in smoky coastal notes with a touch of apples – it’s a tad muted and water doesn’t help open much; Palate has a sweet coastal bonfire profile and I love the light mineral notes coming through, but again it sits a tad light and doesn’t carry quite as much depth as I’ve experienced in some of the past releases; Finish is a nice slow extension of the palate.
I like it.
Octomore 11.1 – Final Thoughts and Score
This is good, but it’s a bit light… which is odd to say about an Octomore. And even odder to say that at moments it borders on delicate. The peat hits heavy, as expected, but overall there’s something a bit muted about it, like it’s holding back a bit.
That said, it’s still as alluring and fun as any other Octomore release, like the Octomore 6.1 for example, and still makes for an excellent conversation starter: “Would you like to try a whisky almost 3x peatier than Ardbeg?”. Even if they don’t know what you’re talking about who’s going to say no? People love extremes.
Curiosity will overcome them and they’ll discover Octomore 11.1 is a simple, easy sipper with a block of peat that grows and grows until it sits like a blanket on the senses. At which point they’ll simply stop caring about the words you said and just ask for more to keep the delicately fruity and perversely peated train going.
*Disclosure: The sample for this Scotch review was graciously sent to me by the company without obligation. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.
Octomore 11.1 Review
Simply a tasty whisky that intimidates with its PPM, but acquires fans by its brilliance. Tasty tasty stuff that never disappoints.