Whisky Review – Octomore OBA (Octomore Black Art). @bruichladdich

Octomore OBA (Octomore Black Art)
59.7% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£99 from Bruichladdich – alas sold out very quickly. 


Another Octomore. Another experience. 

Nose. 

Fruity on first pour. Oranges, grilled pineapple rings on the BBQ. A Ham from the same BBQ, done crispy! Smoke starts bellowing through with further sniffs. There’s some wine reduction on the meat now which is turning more spare ribs, and a bit of Chinese five Spice. Even some Peking duck. This is immense and I haven’t stopped sniffing since the pour. Loads going on. Immensely complex and continually evolving. Ok, so give it a rest for a few minutes. 
Starting again. Burnt stuff. Toffee (burnt), pineapple (grilled), a slice of orange (thick cut, dried and toasted), some dark chocolate (melted), fennel (well roasted), bubbling caramel, pork crackling. There’s an overlying fruitiness, almost like things are covered with breakfast juice as it’s all cooking. It’s bloody lovely. A bit more time and some added herbal notes, but this is all about the fruitiness. Oh yeah, it’s quite smokey as well, but the smoke is muted a little behind the immense fruit, not to say it isn’t smokey though, it is, a nice background raging bonfire in autumn smoke. 

Palate. 

Lovely sweet fruit juice arrival, lots of fruit, orange juice, mango, grapes (a bit of wine), berry juices, blackberry/blackcurrent jam, marmalade. There’s a liquorice root in there somewhere as well, during the ABV burn, which is extremely short and pleasant, this is easy to drink at full strength!! Very easy in fact, extremely sip-able, scarily so. The mouthfeel is BIG, oily and utterly tremendous. During the delivery there is a hint of well done ribs, and that Chinese style meat rub, some chocolate late on which goes very seamlessly into the finish. It’s incredibly chewy overall, and the whole palate experience is one you want to experience over and over again. This is really drinkable, extremely enjoyable. Probably one of the most, if not the most drinkable Octomore’s I’ve had. 

Finish. 

Chocolate, dried fruits, and a touch of liquorice. It’s a medium to long length finish, warming, not burning, well matured, delicious juice. 

Adding water. 

I’ve made it through the majority of a dram without adding water. But it needs to be done as I could be missing out. A small splash added and sat back for a bit. It’s unleashed the smoke beast. Lots of smoke now, almost (I said almost) too much, it’s definitely muted the fruitiness quite a bit. The herbal notes now come second, lots of liquorice and some fallen wood on a forest floor, perhaps even some damp earth and a touch of mushroom. The palate has more grapes, berries, quite a bit more wine influence, lots of fruit, juicier and less toasted, still very easy to drink, in fact easier now, making this one of the most dangerous whiskies I’ve had for high ABV quaffability. The finish has more of a wine tannin note to it now, very pleasant, but not as nice as the undiluted. I personally wouldn’t add water to this whisky, you gain in the terms of easy to drink, but you loose an experience which is worth holding onto. 

Conclusion. 

This is the one of the, if not the most drinkable Octomore’s I’ve had. I really want to know it’s make up, but I’m guess I’m never going to find out with it being a black art(?). It’s absolutely delicious, I hope many more people will open and enjoy their bottles and not auction it. You’re missing out if you sell it guys and gals! Open it. Drink it. It’s magnificent. 

From my own collection. (This review from a bottle share split with friends). 

Whisky Review – Kilchoman 100% Islay 7th edition @Kilchoman05

Kilchoman 100% Islay 7th edition 

50% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£71.14 from Master of Malt







Nose. 

First sniff has lots of cut grass and fresh mossiness. A backing of fresh cream, vanilla, and a touch of citrus oils. Smoke is there, a gentle medicinal peat smoke. Letting it sit a while. After some time the grass/earth/nature aromas have calmed down and we have more lemon notes, lemon pip sweets. There is a lot of creamy barley, porridge oats, and an all round fresh and honest nature about it. A hint of liquorice root is now present with a little more time. An evolving nose, one to go back to frequently and experience new wonders. In more time and a little more gentle smokiness comes forward, slightly menthol, reminds me of opening a fresh pack of menthol cigs. 

Palate. 

A sweet peat arrival, lots of light honey and caramel sweetness, driven with a smokey spiced backing. There’s some lemon squash drink, cream covered porridge and a touch of aniseed. The mouthfeel is very thick and oily, deliciously so, practically a honey viscosity. Later in the development there is a touch of mint, spearmint, and menthol. The ABV is unrecognisable at 50%, its very easy going. There is a fresh, clean experience here, very honest whisky. 

Finish. 

Turning dry over a medium duration. Still lots of clean barley cream, a touch of mentholated smoke and a lovely warming chest hug. Very satisfying. 

Adding water. 

A splash added. Unleashed the farm! The nose now has a lovely farmyard thing going on, hay, freshly cut grass is back, a twiggy bonfire. Very countryside. The palate is still sweet, more tarty in the lemons, still immensely thick on the mouthfeel, and still with lots and lots of creamy vanilla laden barley. The liquorice notes have migrated towards the finish, which is now slightly drier. I like this one with or without water, both variations is an experience in itself. 

Conclusion. 

Beautiful Islay. Beautiful, honest, clean, tasty whisky. Love it! Gotta bottle now. 🙂

Thanks to Kilchoman for the official review sample. 

Whisky Review – Arran 1996 – 20 year old (Bartels – Highland Laird) @bartelswhisky_

Arran 1996 – 20 year old (Bartels – Highland Laird) 

51.3% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

Cask #1337

520 bottles

£135.00 from Bartels Whisky

Nose. 

Intense perfumed sherry explosion on first pour and sniff. Lots of quite breathtaking dark fruits, with a backing of vanilla and almonds. Subsequent nosing after a while in the glass and this comes across as an older whisky. The sherry intensity has calmed and there’s more old oak, orange oils, complex nuttiness, richer vanilla and dusty museum effect. It’s definitely more old fashioned in its presentation, not as in your face as modern sherried whiskies are. 

Palate. 

Bursting on the palate we have loads of vibrant fruit, red currents, blackberry, cherries and raisin. There is a gentle sweet spiciness running through, clove and cinnamon. The mouthfeel has some substance to it, a pleasant oiliness on the tongue. The development shows a little heat from the ABV, but overall it does not feel like the percentage it is. Further on and the fruit comes back again, rich dark fruit compote which really gives a warming chest and happy factor. That old school feeling is in the palate as well, tasted blind I would have thought this an older bottling of a sherried Speysider. 

Finish. 

Short to medium length stewed fruits and cask dust with a touch of butterscotch sweeties! 

Adding water. 

Tiniest drop added. The nose has a more dusty vanilla note now, a touch more floral, the fruits having been hurt by the drop of water. The palate, while still vibrant in flavour is not as thick on the palate, lots more floral in the later development and finish. This is quite fragile and needs to be treated with respect, and without water. 

Conclusion. 

A lovely sherried Arran. Very tasty indeed, comes across as an older whisky, with some dusty old fruit bomb intensity without water. Don’t dare to add water though, as it falls apart quite easily. This whisky also gives a little blast to the past, as it feels like an older style of sherried presentation, less in-your-face than more modern sherry monsters. Very good stuff. 

Thanks to Bartel’s whisky for including a sample in a recent purchase.