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Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Kilchoman 9 year old 2008 100% Islay, cask 549 for K&L Wine Merchants

(Kilchoman cluster homepage)

On Monday, I reviewed a 50+ cask-sized batch of 9-ish year old 100% Islay Kilchoman single malt aged in former Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels.

Today, I'm reviewing a single cask of 9-ish year old 100% Islay Kilchoman single malt aged in a former Buffalo Trace bourbon barrel.

How about that for accidental coordination?

The two whiskies went head-to-head (so many hyphens today). Let's see who won...

Region: Islay
Age: 9 years (23 Oct 2008 - 27 June 2018)
MaturationBuffalo Trace bourbon barrel
Barley: ~20ppm, sourced from Islay farms
Cask #: 549/2008
Outturn: 250 bottles (quite a productive barrel)
Exclusive to: K&L Wine Merchants
Alcohol by Volume: 54.8%
Chillfilltered? No
Colorant added? No
(from a bottle split)

The nose holds the great coastal beach (sand/ocean/seaweed) note while staying a good distance from the new make. Orange blossoms, lemon zest, apple skins and honeydew take turns in the foreground, while the mellow smoke remains in the background. When diluted to 50%abv, that coastal note shifts to dashi. The fruits recede while cinnamon ice cream and vanilla bean power roll forward.

The palate begins lean and savory, with hints of seaweed, peppercorns, bell peppers and bitter herbs. Minty sweetness and tart fruit arise after 20 minutes. Cinnamon and cracked pepper take over at the 30 minute mark. Dropping it to 50%abv gives it a boost, trimming down that raw edge, revealing a fragrant mix of cloves and mossy peat. Hints of salt and sugar linger below.

It finishes with a mix of bitterer, heavy smoke and rye white dog, gradually sweetening with time. Reduced to 50%abv, it has a cleaner bitterness, less smoke, less sugar, more sea salt.

Another 100% Islay that takes water well. If you're keeping score, that's 2-for-2 with the local malt, 0-for-11 with the PE malt. Though I prefer the fruity nose neat, the palate fills out (again seeming like it adds a couple years to itself) with that little bit of water. This (1 cask) topped the 9th Edition (50+ casks), reading better composed and balanced. Here the whisky feels like it's almost there. I'm not going to say, "I can't wait until this stuff is 12 years old," but I think I kinda just said it.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - $150
Rating - 84

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