Octomore Valinch Fèis Ile 2022 & Octomore Farm Cask #1712


Some more Octomores today as we managed to get our hands on a sample of the 2022 Fèis Ile release…

Octomore Valinch Fèis Ile 2022

Region: Islay

ABV: 61.9%

Price: £275.00

The first Octomore Valinch is a 9-year-old that was distilled in 2011, and matured in a virgin oak cask before being bottled for the Fèis Ile in 2022, 664 bottles were released.

Nose

This is not the peat monster you might expect. It’s still smokey but compared to other Octomore releases it’s fairly restrained. There’s a strong ginger note initially followed by honey nut hoops, and cheerio’s that have been burnt. Going back to it after air we're finding there’s some tobacco, tar and a little orange peel.

Palate

There’s a nice burst of sugary sweetness initially on the palate. There’s some orange juice, vanilla bon bons, and marmalade. Again it’s not as smokey as expected, it’s more of an ashy / earthy peat. There’s only the slightest hint of ethanol here and we’d have guessed the ABV was in the mid 50s. It’s also got a good mouthfeel with a nice oiliness that coats the mouth. Sweet chilli spice and a little fennel on a good length finish.

Nose (with water)

Water relegates the cereal notes and sweetness to the background. We’re now getting more tobacco and smoke. There’s also a foost / warehouse funk coming through with a hint of double cream. We prefer the nose unreduced.

Palate (with water)

Water has brought the sweetness to the fore, but it’s now more a synthetic sweetness. It’s like the sugar in the orange juice has been replaced with aspartame. Weirdly we’re also finding there’s much more of an alcohol bite on the finish that’s giving us a little bit of heartburn.

Conclusion

This is another dram that doesn’t need water. We enjoyed the sample of this we tried, but if we judge it against other whiskies at a similar price point (£275 for a 500ml bottle) it’s too pricey for the quality. We appreciate Octomores are expensive, but there are cheaper Octomore bottles that are as good or better. It also doesn’t have the punch in the face of peat some people want from Octomore. It’s a 7/10 for us.

Score: 7/10


Octomore Farm Cask #1712

Region: Islay

ABV: 60.5%

Price: £380.00 (Auction)

This privately bottled Octomore was distilled in May 2011, and after 9 years in bourbon was given a finishing period of 14 months in an oloroso barrel.

Nose

Our nose is initially hit by the sweeter notes, such as barley sugar and light caramel. The smoke comes next and we find ourselves on the beach at a bonfire. There’s an oaty cereal note that we’ll say is muesli. Going back to it and we’re getting burnt brown sugar  and cream buns. The sherry influence isn’t particularly strong and this could easily be mistaken as a full maturation bourbon release.

Palate

This is another dram where the peat has been tamed somewhat by time. Not that is a bad thing, for us the palate has a good balance between the smoke and sweeter notes. We’re getting bunt oak and ash balanced with some simple syrup and caramel wafers. There’s lingering seawater and chilli on a good length finish along with some ash. It’s has a good mouthfeel, but is a touch hot for us.

Nose (with water)

On the reduced nose we’re finding the sweeter sherry notes start to push to the forefront. We’re getting hints of toffee and treacle. The smoke has dimmed a little with the bonfire starting to go out.

Palate (with water)

Like the nose we’re finding the palate sweeter and the sherry slightly more noticeable. We’re now getting a little roasted coffee and tobacco. Going back to it after time and we’re getting golden syrup, sugar rice paper with the peat showing mostly as ash and lapsang souchong.

Conclusion

Like the Fèis Ile release if you’re looking for a punch in the face from the peat you’d be better off with a younger release. We enjoyed this, but it’d be hard to recommend at the auction price. However if you were lucky enough to get a bottle when it was released, crack it open and you won’t be disappointed.

Score: 7/10

  • 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
  • 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
  • 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
  • 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
  • 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
  • 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
  • 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
  • 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
  • 2 - Pour it out
  • 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.

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