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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Kilchoman 2008 Vintage

Following the 5 year old 2006 Vintage and the 6 year old 2007 Vintage, Kilchoman released the 7 year old 2008 vintage in 2015. Unlike my experience with the 2007, I come to this review without expectations as I've never tried it before. Though often tempted to buy a whole bottle of it, I settled on purchasing a 60mL sample instead. Let's see how it fares against its previous, though younger, sibling.

Region: Islay
Age: Seven years (2008 - 2015)
Maturation: "bourbon barrels"
Barley: 50ppm, sourced from Port Ellen maltings
Outturn: ???
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chillfilltered? No
Colorant added? No
(from a purchased sample)

The nose is very beachy, lots of seaweed and salty air. A little bit of soot in the background. Bits of black licorice and fruity yeast here and there. With time, it develops a rich apple pie note. Diluted to 40%abv, it gets farmier and yeastier, while also picking up notes of apples and pineapples, pine needles and vanilla extract. And most importantly, black walnuts.

The palate's smoke is by turns savory, peppery and sooty. It has a nice combo of baking spices, brown sugar and almond extract, though it never gets too sweet. A slight metallic note in the background grows a bit once the whisky is reduced to 40%abv. Roses and tart apples in the background, earth and peppercorns in the foreground.

Lemons, baking spices and chiles lead the finish with gentle smoke and sweetness lingering behind. It gets bitterer and smokier when reduced to 40%abv, with a little bit of tartness around the sides.

This is the vintage I should have purchased. Unlike the 2007, the palate does not cower beneath the nose's excellence, and the finish is quite nice. The peat reads loudest in the nose as well, mellowing out in the palate. I prefer it neat, but the nose takes water very well. There's a quality here I had really hoped I would find during this cluster, the sort of merit that makes me think, "THIS is what I was looking forward to."

Availability - May still be found at some European retailers
Pricing - $85-$100 (w/VAT)
Rating - 88

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