...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Single Malt Report: Kilchoman 10th Anniversary Release

Happy Christmas, to those of you who do the Christmas!  May you wear your Aunt Clara's bunny suit well.
Yet another ritual stolen from the pagans.
2015 marked the 10th anniversary of Kilchoman Distillery's opening.  Since they didn't actually start distilling until December, their actual 10th birthday is right about now.  In honor of their continuing existence, they released this whisky.

When I read the announcement about this release I, like a number of their fans, got excited that they were putting out a 10 year old whisky!  But it's not a 10 year old whisky.  Nope.  Even though the number 10 is the boldest number on the label, even though 2005-2015 is clearly listed on the label, it's actually a 3 year old whisky.  Or, as per the label, it's a whisky without an official age statement.

Though it "includes whisky from Cask Number 01/2005, the first cask ever filled at Kilchoman", it contains whisky from casks filled between 2005 and 2012.  Thus it's legally three years old......but also selling for $160+.  Though the idea behind this whisky is very cool, the label misleads.  With great regret, I call shenanigans.

Ignoring the preceding editorial, how's the whisky?  I'm very thankful to have gotten a sample of it from my whisky buddy, Brett, who also supplied the Port Cask and Madeira Cask samples.  Thanks, Brett!

Brand: Kilchoman
Region: Islay
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Maturation: a combo of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks
Age: technically three years, with casks from 2005 to 2012
Alcohol by Volume: 58.2%
Limited Bottling: 3,000
Colored? No
Chillfiltered? No

Its color shines as a bright yellow gold.

The nose leads off with peated orange blossoms, mint chip ice cream, and rope.  Apricots and dried berries roll in from the various casks.  A nice farmy hint wafts in after a few minutes.

A hardy peat sings the loudest in the palate, one can almost feel both the mossy fibers and smoke.  Mixed nuts in earthy molasses.  Lime candy and black pepper.  Light bitterness, light sweetness.  A chest-filling warmth.  With time it picks up notes of mint jelly and grape jam.

The simple but moderate length finish is peppery and lightly sweet.  Some smoke, salt, and tangy citrus.

WITH WATER (~46%abv)
The farmy note moves forward in the nose, followed by moderate notes of peat, mint leaves, tree bark, menthol, prunes, and brandied cherries.

The palate develops a bracing bitterness to go with a brown sugary peat.  Small notes of menthol, cayenne pepper, and tobacco float about.

The finish holds cinnamon, pepper, menthol, and black coffee with a little bit of sugar.

The nose is excellent, lovely and full, maybe the most balanced Kilchoman I've ever sniffed.  The palate can't compete, but proves very agreeable in its simplicity.  The whisky swims pretty well, with the nose winning out again.  Price and label gripes aside, this is a well built whisky.  It doesn't necessarily feel older than most Kilchomans, it's just good whisky.  But about that price though, damn.  It keeps me from ever chasing down a bottle.

Availability - Scarce in US and Europe
Pricing - $150-$190, it may be cheaper at the distillery if it's still available
Rating - 88