My brother stayed over a few weeks ago and, as a small payment for his lodgings brought a couple of rather nice whiskies with him for me to try.

The Octomore 6.1 by Bruichladdich is the sixth edition of their ‘super heavily peated’ whisky range. At 5 years old, 167ppm and 57% ABV it’s not exactly aperitif material but I was interested to see whether it was actually a pleasant drink or simply style over substance.

Colour

Light, grainy gold.

Nose

Smoky, but not as much as you might expect. Slightly medicinal with cereal sweetness. Quite a dry, fresh smell overall.

Tasting

Undiluted, the smoke is very intense – ash takes over then moves aside to reveal some sweetness. Dry finish. There is more in there, but it’s completely overpowered by the smoke.

Adding water changes everything. The fresh smoothness which was in the nose appears and although there is still plenty of smoke everything seems to be more balanced. Fruit and a little spice comes through in the finish and despite my opening statement, this could actually sit quite well before a meal.

Overall, there is a bit more complexity in this than you’d expect from such a young, peated whisky. It’s still pretty raw though.

Overall

An interesting whisky which is definitely worth a taste if you get the chance. I’m not a smokehead by any means and my fear was that the ‘super peating’ would make this pretty unpleasant. Neat it’s too much for my tastes, but with water I actually really enjoyed it. It’s not got the complexity of say, the Ardbog, however it definitely holds it’s own.

Would I buy a bottle? At almost £100 probably not, but that’s simply because there are so many good whiskies at that level to choose from. That said, if you like peated whisky and want to try something a bit different you could do a whole lot worse than this.

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