Kilchoman Oloroso 2009 (Single Cask 422)

Distillery: Kilchoman
Bottled: 2015, Distilled: 2009
ABV: 59.2%
Cask: Oloroso Sherry Casks
More Info: WhiskyBase

Here’s the sixth and final dram from the Manchester Whisky Club’s tasting with Kilchoman, the Single Cask Oloroso 2009.

Nose: Sesame seed, caramel wafers, coal tar, plasticine, marzipan, plum sauce.

Palate: Sweet and syrupy with tangy cough drops, cola, orange zest, and tingly sour smoke.

Finish: Long and smoky with plenty of earth and tar. Reminiscent of Ardbeg.

Staggeringly good for a 5 year old. This one really made the night for a lot of the club members. Wow!

This cask (422) will be bottled and released in Belgium but we have it on good authority there’s a similar release due for the UK market. Here’s hoping…

Originally posted on Manchester Whisky Club.

NOTE: The info link is for a different (but very similar) single cask bottling.

Kilchoman Port Cask

Distillery: Kilchoman
Bottled: 2014, Distilled: 2011
ABV: 59%
Bottles: 6000
Cask: Ruby Port Casks
More Info: WhiskyBase

Here’s the fifth dram from the Manchester Whisky Club’s tasting with Kilchoman, the Port Cask. This was released last year and sold out very quickly indeed. The original release was watered to 55%, but we’re very luck to be trying an original cask sample at 59%!

Nose: Smoked cheese with brandied cherries. Musty dunnage warehouse. Barley grain.

Palate: Fizzy sour strawberry laces, with tart raspberry, soft grape, and a Lapsang Souchoung smoke running through.

Finish: Drying with chewy peat and savoury oak.

The distillery started with 20 fresh 1st-fill port casks back in 2011 and filled them with spirit straight away to capture the flavour. At 3 years old they decided to release it because the port was having such a strong influence on the whisky. Any longer and it’d have looked like Ribena!

The colour on this is amazing – you almost never see a whisky of this hue. After time in sherry it darkens but almost never to this pinky/reddish colour.

It’s an interesting dram, for sure, but it’s quite a departure from what you’d expect from a whisky. The port influence has given it a lot of soft-fruit notes which are pleasant and refreshing but they’re kind of fighting against the peatiness of the whisky.

A really interesting one to try, nonetheless.

Originally posted on Manchester Whisky Club.

Kilchoman Original Cask Strength

Distillery: Kilchoman
Bottled: 2014, Distilled: 2009
ABV: 59.2%
Cask: 1st Fill Bourbon
More Info: WhiskyBase

Here’s the fourth dram from the Manchester Whisky Club’s tasting with Kilchoman, the Original Cask Strength.

Nose: Wood spice, candy, liqourice, hay, farmyard, salty rocks, herby vegetation and dry straw.

Palate: Oily and sweet. Vanilla, peated custard with cinnamon. A little bit of seaweed. Peat rises to become salty and dry.

Finish: Long and warming with savoury smoke, oak, and salt.

This was released October 2014 round about the time of the London Whisky Show. A limited release, this was produced with 35 fresh first fill Bourbon casks and bottled aged five years.

Of all the line-up, this for me is the most typically Islay with that fierce cask strength adding an oily and more-ish quality and some more pronounced coastal notes than the others.

Originally posted on Manchester Whisky Club.

Kilchoman Loch Gorm 2015

Distillery: Kilchoman
Bottled: 2015, Distilled: 2010
ABV: 46%
Cask: 1st Fill Oloroso Hogsheads & Butts
More Info: Kilchoman

Here’s the third dram from the Manchester Whisky Club’s tasting with Kilchoman, the Loch Gorm 2015. This one’s so new it’s not even on WhiskyBase yet! Released on Monday 23rd, we’re some of the first people to taste it.

Nose: Rubber shoe soles, struck matches, sultanas, glace cherries, custard powder, salted nuts, dry dusty earth.

Palate: Peated salty syrup with sweet barley malt, plums and figs, a little dark chocolate, leading to herbal oregano and peppercorns.

Finish: Spicy clove with lime juice. More delicious dry peat, quite sticky this time.

I really liked this a lot more than I expected to. The other Loch Gorm releases I’ve tried have been a little bit boring. This one’s a different beast altogether, with some great savoury sherry notes coming through.

Using Hogsheads as well as Butts has made a difference to the wood contact during those five years maturing. I think I may have to nab a bottle of this…

Originally posted on Manchester Whisky Club.

Kilchoman Machir Bay 2014

Distillery: Kilchoman
Bottled: 2014
ABV: 46%
Cask: Bourbon / Oloroso
More Info: WhiskyBase

Here’s the second dram from the Manchester Whisky Club’s tasting with Kilchoman, the Machir Bay 2014.

Nose: Wafts of citrus, with sea breeze and sweet barley. Rock dust and linen.

Palate: Sweet vanilla and lemon candy, dry peat, barley sugar and a little mint.

Finish: Gentle oak with a tingle of peat. Drying.

Unlike the 100% Islay, this bottling is made with barley from Diageo’s Port Ellen maltings, produced at a similar spec to Ardbeg. 90% of the whisky is matured in Bourbon, and 10% in Oloroso, which are then vatted together and bottled at 46% ABV.

This is the cornerstone of Kilchoman’s core range, named after the sweeping sandy bay that the distillery overlooks on the West of Islay. I really recommend tasting it for that lovely earthy peat smoke that runs through the palate. It’s like you’ve been eating Islay soil, but in a good way.

Originally posted on Manchester Whisky Club.

Kilchoman 100% Islay 4th Edition

Distillery: Kilchoman
Bottled: 2014, Distilled: 2010
ABV: 50%
Cask: 1st Fill Bourbon
More Info: WhiskyBase

Here’s the first dram from the Manchester Whisky Club’s tasting with Kilchoman, the 100% Islay.

Nose: Sweet vanilla, spring blossoms, wax crayons. Earthy, like the smell you get with fresh soil while gardening. Slightly nutty.

Palate: Sweet grassy barley, lots of vanilla with salty earth and dry vegetal peat.

Finish: A little waxy with smoky ashes.

The barley for Kilchoman’s 100% Islay is grown, malted, smoked, mashed, distilled, matured, and bottled all at Rockside farm where the distillery is based. They grow 100 tons of optic barley per year just for this annual release.

Bottled at 50% and matured exclusively in 1st fill Buffalo Trace bourbon, this one’s a light and floral introduction to the core range with a lighter peating level than the other regular releases.

I’m a really big fan of this – the nose is very fresh and delicate and there’s just something deeply earthy and wholesome about the whole thing.

Originally posted on Manchester Whisky Club.

Aberfeldy 1999 “Snuffed Candle” (Wemyss Malts)

Distillery: Aberfeldy
Bottled: 2014, Distilled: 1999
Bottler: Wemyss Malts
ABV: 46%
Cask: Hogshead
More Info: WhiskyBase

Oh I do love Wemyss. The single cask bottlings they’ve put together lately have been very impressive on the whole, as well as being really well priced. I’ve seen them at a few whisky events now, and you can find them on a lot of the usual whisky websites.

Oh, and their nosing panel’s chaired by Charlie Maclean. You know, the chap in the kilt who’s in The Angels’ Share. He decides what the title on the bottle’s going to be, so all the Wemyss single cask releases have names like “Rockpool”, “Peaches and Cream”, “Dark Treacle Fondant”.

This here be an Aberfeldy, and it’s titled “Snuffed Candle”. One of the Dewars’ distilleries, you’re starting to see more and more whisky from this one appearing on the market rather than going into blended malt, which is always good to see.

Let’s try it out.

Nose: Sherbet candy, lavender, french fondant fancy, green apple skin.

Palate: Brittle candy, vanilla, orange peel, lemon juice, black pepper and gentle, tangy peat smoke.

Finish: Tingly with a touch of oak.

Not sure about snuffed candle. I get a nice smoky tingle on the palate but not much soot or sulphur. For me this is mostly about sweetshop candy notes, and very pleasant they are too.

If lightly peated, candylicious Highland malt is your thing then this’ll pique your interest big time.

Clynelish 1997 (Berry Bros)

Distillery: Clynelish
Bottled: 2010, Distilled: 1997
Age: 12 years old
Bottler: Berry Brothers & Rudd
ABV: 56.8%
Cask: American Oak
More Info: WhiskyBase

Clynelish is a Diageo-run distillery in the coastal village of Brora in the Northern Highlands built to replace the now infamous Brora distillery.

Somewhat cheaper than the legendary silent stills of Brora, the Clynelish has proved very popular with indy bottlers and the vast majority of bottlings in the wild are not official bottlings. Which is a shame, not least because there’s a picture of an angry cat on the label…

Nose: Raisin vanilla fudge, egg custard, nutmeg, pebble beach, cedar wood shavings.

Palate: Starts sweet with fragrant pear, and honeydew melon with a slab of salted Scottish tablet. Sweetness gives way to spices with cinnamon, sweet chilli peppers and cloves.

Finish: Waxy, with a peppery tang.

Lovely Highland profile this. Not as powerful as Brora – more mild, sweet pussycat than a fierce predator.

Highland Park 30

Distillery: Highland Park
Bottled: 2007
Age: 30 years old
ABV: 48.1%
Cask: American Oak and European Oak
More Info: WhiskyBase

Here’s the first of several 30-year-old whiskies I’m trying this year in the run up to my thirtieth birthday.

Highland Park endeavour to maintain the 25, 30 and 40 year-old expressions available as part of their core line-up with several different versions of each appearing over the years. This version, to my knowledge, is the most recent 30-year-old bottling and is still widely available.

Nose: Grassy and gristy, with honey-roast ham, sultanas and sea-spray. Some herbs and spices as well: cardamom, paprika, thyme, and mint.

Palate: Barley candy, spiced honey, tinned peaches with cinnamon; leading to a smoky mix of cacao, tobacco leaf and burnt coffee.

Finish: Very long and oaky with toasted hazelnuts.

Distinctively Highland Park’s flavour profile – gentle savoury smoke, a little saltiness, and some deep and rich malt and spice.

The time spent in barrel is very apparent here with a lot of the flavours coming directly from the wood. It’s not unpleasant at all but the oak is very much in-evidence. Though not made clear, my money’s on a vatting of bourbon-matured spirit with some refill sherry butts.

Personally, I would’t buy one of these. There are some sensational indy bottlings of Highland Park out there for a lot less money and I’m not convinced the age is bringing anything special to the table in this case.

I do like it, though – it’s refined and restrained with the flavours coming out slowly and gently. A quiet sipper and contemplater for special occasions.

This is at the higher end of Highland Park’s core expressions, with bottles going for £400 on their online shop. You can also get 3cl samples of the Highland Park 30 on for €19.99.

Springbank Sherrywood 17

Distillery: Springbank
Bottled: 2015, Distilled: 1997
Age: 17 years old
Bottles: 9,120
ABV: 52.3%
Cask: First-fill and refill sherry butts
More Info: WhiskyBase

Over to Campbeltown this week for the newly released and much-sought-after sherrywood 17 from Springbank.

Typically, I expect an oily coastal mix of salted-caramel and gentle smoky peat from Springbank but it’s not often you see an expression from them that’s matured full-term in sherry casks so I’d imagine that’s going to knock the typical flavour profile far beyond recognition and into a whole new adventure…

Nose: Acrylic paint, dry paper, salty pork crackling, tangerines in syrup, coal-tar soap, nettles and damp moss.

Palate: Mouth-coating with juicy peaches, gooseberries, raspberries, white grapes and elderflower cordial with a rising soft and tangy smoke through the middle. Develops further into crystallised orange peel with grapefruit.

Finish: Sea salt and burnt caramel with gentle wafts of toasted oak and soft smoke.

Water: Reduces the fruit and increases the smoke.

Mmmm, now this is a lovely, (and atypical) sherried whisky. The nose is very savoury and meaty with a coastal edge, and the palate has some excellent fruit notes rising on a core of gentle smoke and oak-spices.

The fruit notes, rather than developing towards the dark grape flavour profile (plums, raisins, cherries, christmas cake, chocolate, etc), lean towards the light grape flavour profile instead. It’s still an oily mouth-coater, but it’s more about the lighter and fresher flavours than the dark and rich ones.

This is a very appealing and intriguing dram after trying so many other delicious (but ultimately predictable) sherried whiskies.

Well done to Springbank for keeping things interesting!

You can order a 6cl sample of the Springbank Sherrywood 17 from for €12.49 – take advantage of the favourable exchange rate if you’re in the UK!