...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Kilchoman Summer 2010 Release (a re-review)

(Kilchoman cluster homepage)

I reviewed this whisky many years ago and gave it a score of 92.

Yeah, I know.

Perhaps I was in Jim Murray Mode, handing out 92s for a good (rather than stupendous) whisky. But had I really been in 100% Murray Mode then I would have compared the whisky to the fanny of an ex-girlfriend that I never really had. But I didn't do that. Because I'm not disgusting.

Not lately.

My point is, I needed to try this whisky again. Things have changed a bit in the NINE years since that review (good luck finding it!). While I wrote the earlier post in a whisky bar, today's review plays out in a neutral setting, my sanitized padded cell.

Region: Islay
Age: Three years (2007-2010)
Maturationbourbon barrels
Barley: 50ppm, sourced from Port Ellen maltings
Outturn: 17,500 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chillfilltered? No
Colorant added? No
(from a bottle split)

The nose is great! It starts off with bonfire smoke, dark chocolate, roasted pecans and tennis ball fuzz. It develops a baked apple and cinnamon note with time, also picking up raspberry jam and grassy notes. Reduced to 40%abv, the nose still kinda works. Almonds, peanuts, soil, ocean water and smoke start it off. Then some body...erm, mustiness arises. From the whisky

Simpler than the nose, the palate leads with lots of hay and bitter herbs. That's followed by heavy smoke, wet wool and a sharp tartness. Once the whisky is diluted to 40%abv, one finds bitter cardboard boxes and okay we're done here.

It finishes with a good balance of cracked pepper, smoke, horseradish and tart limes. Once diluted to 40%abv, it's all bitter and burnt and a bad idea.

I can sort of sense what had once thrilled me about the whisky. It does smell delightful, and the palate punches in with an almost Octomore violence. So it's good, likely better than many of the 6-8 year old peated single casks being rolled out by the indies. It's also better than several of this cluster's older Kilchomans. But the palate is very one dimensional. That dimension is done well, but it needs friends and happy casks and time. It can still probably beat most of Islay's NAS releases, but that's no big feat. Also, it's shockingly awful with water.

Younger me had found fruitier things in the palate, and a less complex nose. Reading those old notes again makes me think I should have given it a 87 or 88, not a 92. Today, it'll get a very high score for a 3yo whisky, but not nearly as crazy enthusiastic as that earlier rating.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - It was $60ish upon its release
Rating - 84 (no water please)