...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Octomore 12 year old 2007 Event Horizon, for Feis Ile 2019

Amidst all of Bruichladdich's words about this 2019 Feis Ile release, there isn't a single mention of the whole "Event Horizon" name, so I'm just going to assume they're referencing the craptacular "You can't leave, she won't let you" turdburger Sam Neill ham sandwich I enjoyed in the theater twenty-three (o.m.g.) years ago, rather than a black hole's gravitational sphere.

According to that same marketing blurb, this is the oldest Octomore release yet, and from 100% sherry casks. A big thank you to Doctor Weir Springbank for the sample!

Distillery: Bruichladdich
Brand: Octomore
Ownership: Remy Cointreau
Region: Islay
Age: minimum 12 years (2007-2019)
Maturation: four (oloroso and PX) sherry butts
Outturn: 2000 bottles
PPM: 162.2
Alcohol by Volume: 55.7%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No

Yep, it stinks up the whole room. The nose has lots of everything, fruity and nutty sherries, hefty smoke and soot, orange and cherry jellos, pine needles and briny shellfish. The absurdly sweet palate mixes cinnamon syrup with moo shu plum sauce with apricot jam. Tart oranges and barbecue sauce. Charred beef and ham. Ashes from a grass fire. Barbecue chicken wings lead off the finish, followed by salt, sugar, black pepper and apricot jam under a blanket of smoke.

DILUTED TO ~50%abv, or ⅔ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose becomes mintier and more chocolatey, but with a simpler peat smoke. There's more rubber and plastic, and a blob of almond butter. More char and ash in the palate now. The moo shu plum sauce remains, now combined with smoked chipotles and woody bitterness. The sticky sweet finish is all berry jams and citrus marmalades and wood smoke.

With its outrageous peat levels and high abv, Octomore was designed to be loud. Three year olds can't easily find their inside voices, and it's understandable when five or six year olds struggle to do the same. But at 12 years? I need ear plugs. Thus when a spirit with a 162.2ppm peat level is left in hyperactive juicy casks for more than a decade, the resulting deafening volume is no accident.

That's not to say this whisky is bad, rather it's to illustrate that "depth" (the official wording) isn't gained from this sort of maturation, in fact almost all of the 5yo bourbon cask Octomores I've had were more complex than this. The Event Horizon works best as a pairing whisky, likely to work well with chocolate or vanilla desserts, even better with a cigar. And despite the above critique, I also encourage you to drink this at full power because dilution renders the whisky's third act just as messy at the film's.

An odd start to 2021.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - was £175 at Feis Ile, though it's a lot more now!
Rating - 84 neat only

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