Mar 112012
 

Kilchoman Spring 2010

46% abv

Score:  85/100

 

Here’s a quirky l’il Kilchoman, and utterly winning in its unique profile.  Having recently wended my way through a very encompassing range of expressions from this young Islay distillery, this was one of the ones that really stood out.  Yes, the quality of spirit is inherent, but so is the wood policy.  If memory serves (and as I get older, it often doesn’t) Kilchoman was using ex-Buffalo Trace bourbon casks for maturation of their firey young spirit.  The sweetness of Buffalo Trace working wonders to knock some of the barbs from the heavily-peated Islay malt.

The most interesting thing about this expression is that, for a farm distillery a few miles inland, the spirit somehow exudes a bold and undeniable oily smoked salmon nose.  Oceanic notes are nothing new to Islay malts, but this decidedly fishy nose is new to me.  Having said that…it works.  I can’t help but wonder what exactly is contributing that profile to the whisky though.

The nose is, as mentioned, heavy in salmon-esque effluence.  Peat and smoke are omnipresent, of course, and  rounded out with lemon juice, kerosene, mussels in white wine and a grassy/herbal note.

The palate, both on arrival and playing out through the finish, also carries that fishiness.  Notes of hoisin sauce and syrupy pear still manage to be heard amid the hot cacophony of peat noise.

Good drink.  Don’t be fooled by thinking this young distillery is a one-trick pony.  Their expressions, while young, are already varied and carry unique fingerprints.

 

– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 9:31 pm
Mar 112012
 

Kilchoman Inaugural Release

46% abv

Score:  88.5/100

 

Here it is.  After much anticipation, the first official whisky produced from Islay’s youngest distillery, Kilchoman.  Gotta be honest too…this is a one-in-a-million success story.  The distillery, that is, not just this expression.  Kilchoman have managed to develop a sweet and unique whisky, the likes of which some distilleries with much more age to their credit are still struggling to come to terms with.

Is it perfect?  Of course not.  No whisky is.  Without question though, I can attest that even at three years old, this is a dram to be reckoned with.  I can’t wait to try this as a 12 year old malt in a few years.

The nose is scrappy and chock full of win.  Sort of a Rocky Balboa fighting spirit from this underdog distillery.  Licorice, iodine, citrus zest, raw smoke and earthy peat lead the charge.  There is a brininess reminiscent of capers and bonfire and maple bacon as well.

Drinking the stuff reveals salt and smoke in healthy doses (which works well, as I healthily dosed myself in Kilchoman!) with cracked black pepper.  Certainly a young and bracing delivery, but offset nicely with some sweetness.  The fade is all crunchy Granny Smith apple and smoke.  Warm and long lasting.

This really is a damn good whisky.  In fact, better than nearly all of the really young malts (under 5 y.o., that is) I’ve tried.  More than holds up to the hype that built early, and promises a very…very bright future.

Perhaps an extra point for being so bloody good at such a young age.  Remarkable.

 

– Reviewed by:  Curt

– Photo:  Curt

 Posted by at 9:23 pm