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Friday, March 12, 2021

Kilchoman 7 year old 2011 100% Islay, cask 622 for ImpEx Beverages

(Kilchoman cluster homepage) 

The Whisky Advocate's blurb about this sherry hogshead release has a pair of interesting bites.

1.) Per WA, this whisky "uses only barley that was grown on the distillery’s farm". As of very recent scribblings by respected whisky sources, Kilchoman is using mostly their own barley. As of 2011, I'm pretty sure they were using much less than mostly. So I'm struggling to buy into that quote above. If you know more please feel free to share in the comments section below.

2.) Then there's this: "This single-cask expression is the first fully sherry-matured 100% Islay available in the U.S." I'm pretty sure K&L's cask 371/06 beat them to it by about seven years. But I dunno. Again, please prove me wrong in the comments below.

In any case, this marks the 14th Kilchoman in the cluster, yet only the first all-sherry version. Shame on me.

Region: Islay
Age: 7 years (13 Oct 2011 - 20 May 2019)
MaturationSherry hogshead
Barley: ~20ppm, sourced from Kilchoman Farm
Cask #: 622/11
Outturn: 324 bottles
Exclusive to: Impex Beverages Inc 
Alcohol by Volume: 56.1%
Chillfilltered? No
Colorant added? No
(from a bottle split)

The mmmmmedicinal and mmmmmilk chocolate nose starts off just right. Then come the cherries, almond extract, roses and tar. Gradually, ocean and moss notes arrive, and the milk chocolate goes dark. The medicinal and coastal notes get pushed back once the whisky is reduced to 46%abv. Raisins, walnuts and plum wine come forward.

The palate starts with a good bitterness, lots of nuts and a hint of milk chocolate. Toffee pudding and tart limes. Just enough sweetness without getting silly. A lot of cask here, but good cask. A silky mouthfeel develops once the whisky is diluted to 46%abv, and the palate gets more heft to it than the diluted nose. More fruits (plums and grapefruits) and more tar, with a mild chocolate mint note.

It finishes with limes, heavy smoke and bitter liqueur. A little bit of cassia and a lot of sherry cask. It gets much sweeter once it's reduced to 46%abv with just a touch of bitterness and a lot of chocolate mint.

This is mostly cask, though I enjoyed it. Had there been a burlier spirit (like, say, Port Ellen's stuff) to stand up to the cask, this would have been a hell of a thing. It's a very contemporary whisky, appealing to the ever-growing consumer segment that buys whisky for its color. But even for a grump like me, it's a cask that's hard to hate and easy to like.

Availability - Perhaps a few bottles remain in the primary market
Pricing - $150+
Rating - 87