Tasting note: Octomore Masterclass_08.2 (2008/2017, 8yo)

Octomore Masterclass_08.2 2008/2017Color: Auburn

Nose: Earthy peat with apricot jam. There are hints of smoked meat, grass and flowers... barbecue in a hayfield? But what jumps out at you the most beside the very pleasant peat is the fruitiness and sweetness from ripe oranges and berries.

Taste: Wonderful right from the first sip! Gentle smoke with plenty of oak and dark chocolate. Sweet red fruits, cherries and strawberries, mixed with slightly bitter yellow fruits, oranges and apricots.

Finish: The peat stays with you but does so in the background, leaving room for cherries and bitter chocolate to shine through. Red wine grapes and dry oak later.

Comments: This is a lovely dram with peat that is gentle and perfectly balanced alongside sweet aromas. No water required at all.

Rating: I rated this whisky 91 out of 100.
(Nose 22, Taste 23, Finish 23, Balance 23)

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Tasting note: Bruichladdich Br7 (2001/2017, 16-year-old, Elements of Islay)

Bruichladdich Br7 Elements of IslayColor: Burnt umber

Nose: Okay, this one is different. There is lots of smoked bacon but also some kind of funkiness... mould cheese. Thankfully I get more sweetness after a short while, honey and ripe berries. The sherry hogsheads, shy at first, are finally revealing themselves.

Taste: Rich but not overwhelmingly strong despite the 60.4% alcohol content. Nice mouth feel. It has a creamy sweetness to it that I associate with honey again, as well as vanilla and notes of dried fruits. Add to that a pinch of salt. Interesting.

Finish: Sweet first, the vanilla is stronger now. Dry later with cigar smoke.

Comments: This is a very fine whisky. It's complex and interesting especially in the nose and mouth. I'd say it's well-balanced between peat and sweetness, too. It offers quite a few aromas and tastes to explore, but neither of them is too present by itself. The initial cheese smell isn't for me really, but it ended up working rather well once the bourbon barrel and sherry casks kicked in.

Rating: I rated this whisky 89 out of 100.
(Nose 22, Taste 23, Finish 21, Balance 23)

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Tasting note: Bruichladdich 2002 (14-year-old, Jay Doherty Valinch)

Bruichladdich 2002 Jay Doherty ValinchColor: Tawny

Nose: Soft and round right from the beginning, no biting scents despite the Laddie's 60.6% alcohol content. Ripe dark fruits come out at first, but they're quickly accompanied by earthy, even mossy, notes that make for an interesting mix. The nose promises a lot of (dry) sherry. Finally, oranges and spices, cinnamon.

Taste: Dry sherry and the fruity sweetness of dark cherries and raisins. Still, there is that earthy taste, hazel nuts too. Creamy caramel tops the taste off.

Finish: Quite sweet at first (toffee), drier and more earthy later. While the taste dissipates relatively quickly, a long-lasting dry feeling on the palate remains.

Comments: This is a wonderful complex 14-year-old whisky. No water required at all. Give it a couple of minutes in the glass though as it becomes more creamy after a little while.

Rating: I rated this whisky 90 out of 100.
(Nose 23, Taste 24, Finish 21, Balance 22)

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