octomore dialogos

Octomore Dialogos 9.1, 9.2 & 9.3 (2018)

Is there a whisky brand with more of a cult following than Octomore? I struggle to think of one. This ultra-heavily peated whisky is distilled at Bruichladdich, the self-proclaimed ‘Progressive Hebridean Distillers’. It’s been ten years since they released the first ever expression of Octomore, and since then there have been a flurry of new releases, almost annually.

By now they have reached the 9th Octomore series, which is dubbed Dialogos. Bruichladdich, never a distillery afraid to shake things up, wants to encourage whisky fans to discuss resources, wood, the influence of climate and terroir, as well as every other little (or not so little) criterium that affects the character of whisky. In short, Bruichladdich encourages transparency.

It has become a bit of buzz word amongst whisky enthusiasts, although sadly not many producers seem to recognize the consumer’s want for more information. Bruichladdich, along with only a select few other brands, champions the concept of transparency. There’s a good amount of information available on each of the new Octomore Dialogos. There are four in total, three of which I have now tasted. My tasting notes are below, along with a boat load of details.


octomore dialogos 9.1Octomore Dialogos 9.1 (59.1%, OB, 42.000 bts)

  • 100% Scottish Concerto barley, harvested in 2011
  • 156 ppm
  • distilled in 2012
  • 100% matured in 1st fill casks of American oak (Ex-Jim-Beam 51%, Ex-Jack-Daniels 26%, Ex-Clermont 15%, Ex-Old-Grand-Dad 8%)
  • 100% matured on Islay
  • 5 years old
  • non-chill filtered and uncolored 

Nose: Very light, with plenty of agave, almost tequila-like. Or I should say mezcal, of course, my bad. First-fill casks apparently, yet this is pretty spirit forward. Balanced vegetal peat, with subtle smoke (yes, subtle), notes of banana. And if you give it time, there’s a quite intense, yet lovely vanilla sweetness. Indeed, that’s the first-fill cask influence right there.
Taste: The arrival is quite brazen, but settles down. Chock full of thick, dense smoke, with whiffs of rubber and char, but there’s a caramel sweetness as well, with plenty of vanilla and a whisper of lemon.
Finish: Lingering peat smoke, licorice and a whisper of milk chocolate.

Score: 83


octomore dialogos 9.2Octomore Dialogos 9.2 (58.2%, OB, 12.000 bts)

  • 100% Scottish Concerto barley, harvested in 2011
  • 156 ppm
  • distilled in 2012
  • matured for 4 years in ex-American whiskey casks, then for 1 more year in 2nd fill red wine casks from Bordeaux
  • 100% matured on Islay
  • 5 years old
  • non-chill filtered and uncolored 

Nose: Lots of fruit from the wine cask, like plum and red berries, but also a more candy-esque influence, think wine gums. There’s a whiff of gun powder (which settles down after a little while). A hint of smoked bacon and espresso as well, followed by a sootiness, and wood smoke. Dark and brooding.
Taste: The darkness continues. Berries and black forest gateau, backed up by a dark smokiness (some gun powder here as well), and a very syrupy mouthfeel. Some kirsch liqueur and aceto balsamico as well. Really, the peat is secondary here, which is how I love it.
Finish: Lingering red fruits and smoke.

Score: 91


octomore dialogos 9.3Octomore Dialogos 9.3 (62.9%, OB, 18.000 bts)

  • One farm, one field, one vintage
  • 100% Islay barley from Octomore Farm, type Concerto, harvested in 2011
  • 133 ppm
  • distilled in 2012
  • fully matured in ex-American whiskey and French wine casks (1st-fill-ex-American 25%, 3rd-fill-virgin-oak 25%, 2nd-fill-ex-Rivesaltes 20%, 2nd-fill-ex-Syrah 20%, 2nd-fill-ex-Bourbon 10%)
  • 100% matured on Islay
  • 5 years old
  • non-chill filtered and uncolored 

Nose: Pretty coastal with a good bit of salty sea spray, light notes of rubber gloves, and a fair amount of sugary barley water. The smoke might be the most intense of the three. Subtle oak shavings, as well as charred lemon peel.
Taste: Honey and nectarines, with dense wood smoke, and a sprinkle of salt, with a whisper of ginger. Slightly medicinal, with a hint of iodine and a whiff of licorice.
Finish: Iodine, peat and pickled lemon.

Score: 88


Conclusion

Really impressive stuff from Bruichladdich. Especially the Octomore 9.2 really distinguishes itself. After only a year in 2nd fill red wine casks this whisky has achieved a dreamlike balance.

Samples provided by Bruichladdich

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