Kilchoman Port Cask 2018

Distillery: Kilchoman
Bottled: 2018, Distilled: 2014
ABV: 50%
Cask: Port
More Info: WhiskyBase

Oh my! A port-cask matured Kilchoman.

I was very lucky to try the 1st edition of this at a tasting a few years back. It was jammy, earthy and all-round delicious. Let’s try the sequel!

Nose: Redcurrants, Easter egg chocolate, dirty puddles, leaf litter, engine grease, bonfire smoke, and nicotine.

Palate: Tobacco and maple syrup. A smoky serving of spices: cinnamon, clove, white pepper. An acidic red-wine edge to it – like a peppery Shiraz.

Finish: Chewy, earthy peat that lasts and lasts.

I’m a big fan of this style of whisky – it’s raw and punchy and full of the aromas of the outdoors.

Available now for around £70-£80.

Kilchoman 10th Anniversary Release

Distillery: Kilchoman
Bottled: 2015, Distilled: 2005
ABV: 58.2%
Bottles: 3000
Cask: Bourbon & Sherry
More Info: WhiskyBase

The bottling of the first ten-year-old whisky is a big milestone in the life of any distillery.

A tiny, farm-run endeavour, Kilchoman have been punching well above their weight since they entered the whisky market with consistently excellent whisky from a very young age. I’m a big fan of their 100% Islay bottlings (which are only about 5 years old when bottled).

Nose: Jamaican Ginger cake but without the heavy molasses – more like golden syrup and brown sugar. A chalky, sooty, old stove quality around the edges of the sweetness. There’s a fragrant starchiness, too, like pilau rice. With water it gets waxy and slightly soapy.

Palate: Very thick and buttery, with sweet vanilla, lemon sherbet, and then a freight-train of peat and barrel spice: chilli peppers, tingly clove, black pepper. Water calms the spices and reveals cardamom, heather honey, boiled sweets, and some light floral camomile notes.

Finish: Cashew nuts, more cloves, and a lip-smacking ashy quality akin to the dying embers of a cigar.

This is definitely more rounded and well-integrated than its younger siblings.

The character of the spirit shines through and dominates both the nose and the palate, forcing the influence from the cask to take a back seat. Those floral, peaty flavours works incredibly well together and I hope this means we’ll see a 10-year-old at 46% become part of the core line-up.

Big thumbs up from me!

There’s samples of the Kilchoman 10th Anniversary available on Master of Malt, but not full bottles, alas.

Kilchoman Coull Point

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 20.34.13Distillery: Kilchoman
Bottled: 2013, Distilled: 2009
ABV: 46%
Cask: Bourbon and Oloroso
More Info: WhiskyBase

Another airport treat here. I picked this up ages ago and decided to open it for World Whisky Day.

It took a little while to open up but after nearly a week I’m getting a ton more character coming through.

Nose: Oceanic and salty with a vegetal feel. Coltsfoot rock, sultanas, oily espresso and waxed leather. There’s a dusty earthiness with grist and dried herbs. With time, ready salted crisps and a whiff of tequila.

Palate: Luscious mouthfeel with a great balance of sweet and savoury. Peaty and rather Ardbeglike with the character of the smoke coming through as flavours of iodine and dark tar amid sweet notes of treacle, roasted hazelnuts, and burnt coffee.

Finish: Long and dry with bitter dark chocolate, sawdust, white pepper, and a wisp of earthy peat smoke.

This is a terrific whisky. Peaty, tasty, but subtle and evolving plenty in the glass over time.

Elements of the palate remind me of 70’s Ardbeg with its restraint and balance. I respect that’s very high praise for a whisky that’s only spent four years in wood but it turns out that you can get a very high quality distillate when you take the small batch farmyard approach and do things slowly and properly.

I picked this up for under £50 in Manchester Airport. It’s going for more than that online (a lot more in some cases). Keep an eye out for it if you fly via/to the UK, it’s well worth the RRP.


Kilchoman Sanaig

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 16.18.05Distillery: Kilchoman
Bottled: 2016
Age: 4/5 years
ABV: 46%
Cask: 50% Bourbon & 50% Sherry
More Info: WhiskyBase

Here’s a new release from the Islay Farm Distillery.

Kilchoman’s Sanaig is the latest addition to the core line-up and combines Bourbon and Sherry cask influences upon the distillery’s peaty spirit.

As with all Kilchoman’s whiskies, this is very young but full of Islay character.

Nose: Chocolate raisins, prunes, fried pineapple, salty crisps, earthy peat smoke, bandages, milky coffee, wet towel funk.

Palate: Soft plum flesh, pears, and a floral perfume. Toffee and vanilla leading to spicy white pepper and cinnamon with a touch of creamy oak. The signature coastal peat tang comes through too.

Finish: Chewy peat and liquorice strips with more sweet toffee and sea salt emerging.

A sweet peat treat. The sherry influence here brings soft fruit notes, much sweeter than the relatively dry and meaty Loch Gorm 100% sherry release.

Some people aren’t a fan of young peaty whisky but I think Kilchoman are doing extraordinarily well with the stock they have (founded in 2005, it’ll be a while before we see older releases). Mind you, young peaty malts aren’t to everyone’s taste I suppose (though I bloody love them!).

At around £50 per bottle, it’s not cheap. But given this is uncoloured and non chill filtered Islay from a tiny farm that malts and peats their own barley on site, I’d be happy to part with my cash to support their endeavours.

The Kilchoman Sanaig is on Master of Malt for £49.84.

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.