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Monday, August 12, 2019

Kilchoman 5 year old 2007 cask 360/2007

I'm reviewing a pair of 5 year old single cask Kilchomans this week because my older daughter is 5 years (and 3 months) old and there isn't another 5 year old whisk(e)y I have any interest in drinking for fun right now. The first Kilchoman is from a bourbon cask, the second from a sherry cask. They both were released exclusively in the USA.

Today's sample was given to me by Saint Brett of Riverside (thank you, Brett!) right around the time I hit Kilchoman fatigue at the end of 2015. Yes, that means I haven't reviewed a Kilchoman in more than 3½ years. Which means I don't really know what's going on with them. I can confirm they keep Machir Bay, Loch Gorm and the 100% Islays on the shelves each year, but beyond that I dunno. And to continue my usual relevancy, today's and tomorrow's reviews are for casks released 6+ years ago. More about this on Wednesday. I want to get to the review part.

Region: Islay
Age: 5 years (18 October 2007 - 7 November 2012)
Maturation: bourbon cask
Cask: 360/2007
Alcohol by Volume: 59.9%
Colored? No
Chillfiltered? No

Violence on the nose, but, you know, classy violence. It's very green and very herbal and has a good dose of chili oil running through it. Then burnt sugars, burnt cocoa, cinnamon sticks, mint extract and fresh apple cider. After 30+ minutes, it releases sugar cookie and wet earth notes. Billowing black smoke and chili oil in the palate, followed by mint and anise candies. A sharp bitter herb note. A bit tangy. There's also a salty/brothy note in the background. The finish is similar to the palate. Lots of smoke and pepper. Bitterness, tanginess and a spoonful of soil.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 1¾ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose calms down. Smoked cinnamon sticks, eucalyptus, chlorine, anise and a moderate farmy note are what remains. Big clean smoke in the palate, along with a simple sweetness and a hint of bitterness. There's also a creamy citrus pudding effect that lifts it up. The smoky sweet finish has a nice tangerine note that lingers for a while.

Before this tasting, I was curious to see if my opinion of young (read: less than 6 year old) Kilchoman had changed. Though I'd toned down my fandom by late 2015, I still respected their bourbon cask stuff. And, based one ounce of this single cask alone, my take remains the same. As of 2012/2013 the distillery was at least one step ahead of everyone else when it came to < 6yo single malt, yet it would be foolish to say that the whisky is as good as it can get.

This cask is limited in its violence and simplicity at full strength. Dilution helps by bringing out the farm and citrus notes. It could take on modern Ardbeg twice its age, but if this stuff had more fruit, less sugar and less brutality then it would a hell of thing. It would probably be fun to try a single cask with more age, but with the 8-10 year olds running $150 and up, I doubt I ever will.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 84

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